Legislative Notebook: Little cash for state House challengers

February 17, 2014 

Several state representatives have attracted challengers for this year’s elections, but so far, the challengers have not attracted much funding.

Electrical engineer and political novice Bradley Moriarty is taking on Republican Allen Peake, a restaurateur, in a primary for the seat that runs through north Bibb and parts of Monroe County.

Moriarty reports $250 in donations as of Jan. 31, according to the latest disclosures to the state. Peake, meanwhile, is sitting on some $143,000, the result of years of rolling over extra donations.

Software engineer Heath Clark is offering a primary challenge to state Rep. Willie Talton, R-Warner Robins, who is a retired sheriff’s deputy.

Clark’s balance shows no money, but he didn’t even announce his candidacy until after disclosures were due. Talton’s cash on hand is some $11,000.

And finally, in GOP primary challenges, educator Randy Head of Hawkinsville is taking on incumbent state Rep. Buddy Harden of Cordele, a pharmacist, in a big district that runs from Crisp County through south Houston County.

Head had collected some $2,400 by the end of last year. His January report was not online. Harden is sitting on $47,000 donated in years past.

On the Democratic side, state Rep. Patty Bentley, a funeral home owner from Reynolds, has picked up Republican challenger Leslie McNary. Bentley reports no cash rolled over to this year. McNary has not filed a report. The district covers south Peach County plus Taylor, Macon and Dooly counties.

Back in the city of Macon, former Bibb County Commissioner Lonzy Edwards, an attorney and pastor, will challenge optometrist James Beverly. It’s not clear how much Edwards has collected; the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission rejected his filing on a technicality. Beverly has saved up some $10,000 from a few years in politics.

Finally, former Macon Councilman Gerald Harvey has been reported to be considering a primary challenge to state Rep. Nikki Randall, but he has filed no disclosures. Randall, a marketing manager, has about $5,500 on hand.

Would-be lawmakers can register to run until March 7.

Sitting lawmakers cannot raise money during the annual session. It’s set to end on March 20. Primaries are scheduled for May 20.

Bill authorizes forest conveyance for Fall Line Freeway

The Fall Line Regional Development Authority will acquire rights at market value to allow building a long-discussed freeway and industrial park amid a 477-acre parcel of Baldwin and Wilkinson County forest, according to a resolution in the state Senate.

“The Georgia Department of Transportation intends to construct the ‘Fall Line Freeway’ which will bisect Bartram Forest, and the Fall Line Regional Development Authority is desirous of construction an industrial park at the intersection of Highway 441 and said Fall Line Freeway,” reads Senate Resolution 788.

The land is now under the custody of the Georgia Forestry Commission, which would retain timber rights.

The Legislature must approve such state property sales each year, and the Fall Line deal is one of many conveyances in the bill, by state Sen. John Albers, R-Roswell. It’s in the Senate Rules Committee waiting to get to the full floor.

House panel approves ‘silver tsunami’ bills

There’s a silver tsunami coming to Georgia in the form of an aging population, said supporters of a pair of Senate bills, so the state needs to start paying more attention to aging services.

The House Human Relations and Aging Committee agreed, and on Monday the committee passed one bill to create an Alzheimer’s Disease Registry and another to detach senior-specific services from the Department of Human Services to a new Adult and Aging Services Agency.

The registry would collect information about sufferers from the disease. The data would be kept anonymous and be used for research and policy planning.

Meanwhile, the new agency is meant to raise the profile of aging services. It would get a separate budget line, something that guarantees it will be on the agenda during yearly spending decisions.

Senate Bills 292 and 291 are both by state Sen. Renee Unterman, R-Buford. Neither faced serious Senate opposition. Now they go to the House Rules Committee.

-- Maggie Lee

The Telegraph is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service