VALDOSTA — Speculation, rumors and plain old gossip have been swirling all week following Sen. Tim Golden’s announcement that he will not seek re-election to the District 8 seat he has held for 16 years.

Thursday, much of the talk was affirmed following state qualifying, with Rep. Ellis Black withdrawing his candidacy for his House District 174 seat and throwing his hat in the ring for Golden’s Senate seat.

“We need to maintain the continuity here in Atlanta with our local delegation. A lot of senior leadership in the Senate is retiring this year, which leaves a number of committee assignments open. I’ve got a terrific relationship with Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, who makes those assignments, and I should be able to get a more powerful position and a chairmanship,” said Black.

“I would not have run if I didn’t believe that there is someone good to take my place in the House,” he said.

To fill the vacancy Black will leave in the House, Crawford Powell qualified for House District 174 Thursday and will not seek re-election to the County Commission seat he’s held for four years.

“This is an excellent opportunity to continue the work our delegation is doing in Atlanta, and I want to represent the interests of south Georgia going forward,” Powell said.

A third candidate joined Republicans Richard Raines and Ellis Black in seeking the Senate seat on Thursday — Democrat Bikram Mohanty of Valdosta.

Raines and Powell are currently on the Lowndes County Commission, but also running for state office. According to County Manager Joe Pritchard, since both of their terms end  at the end of this year and coincide with the beginning of the terms for the seats they are seeking, they will not have to withdraw. However, if their terms were not expiring at the end of this year, they would have had to resign in order to run.

Kay Harris
The Valdosta Daily Times