Friday, April 7, 2006

Musical chairs

Posted By on Fri, Apr 7, 2006 at 11:13 PM

By Scott Henry

With state Sen. Sam Zamarripa's surprise announcement Tuesday that he's not running for re-election comes the inevitable shuffling of district seats as local politicians and hopefuls begin jumping into races. Veteran Rep. Nan Orrock, D-Atlanta, was first out of the gate, declaring her candidacy for Zamarripa's Senate post.

Elected in 2002, Sam Zam, an investment banker, says he is stepping aside to devote more time to business endeavors, with a focus on bringing Chinese investment to Georgia.

Other senators who are not seeking re-election include:

  • Casey Cagle, R-Gainesville -- running for lieutenant governor
  • Brian Kemp, R-Athens -- running for agriculture commissioner
  • Terrell Starr, D-Jonesboro -- retiring
  • Bill Stephens, R-Canton -- running for secretary of state

Over in the House, a passel of pols are leaving after this term, including former Speaker Terry Coleman, who is the senior member of the lower chamber, first elected in 1973. The soon-to-be departing number at least four old-school Democrats, five Republicans and one independent (who, like most folks, used to be a Democrat):

  • Gail Buckner, D-Jonesboro -- running for secretary of state
  • Terry Coleman, D-Eastman -- retiring
  • Ron Dodson, I-Lake City -- retiring
  • David Graves, R-Macon -- shamed out of office for multiple DUIs
  • Bill Cummings, D-Rockmart -- retiring after 25 years
  • Hinson Mosley, R-Jesup -- retiring
  • Jack Murphy, R-Cumming -- running for Stephens' Senate seat
  • Stacey Reese, R-Gainesville -- running for Cagle's Senate seat
  • Robert Ray, D-Fort Valley -- retiring after 25 years
  • Chuck Scheid, R-Woodstock -- running for secretary of labor
  • Paul Smith, D-Rome -- retiring after 20 years

Mosley, who made a number of enemies when he switched parties days after winning a tough re-election as a Democrat in 2004, took a moment in the final hours of last month's session to offer a back-handed slap at his old party mates by noting from the well that he leaves behind a "great team," meaning the GOP.

We'll get a much better idea of who's leaving the General Assembly, who's staying and who wants in when qualifying begins April 24.

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