Kidd wins runoff for House seat

Rusty Kidd, the son of long-time legislator Culver Kidd, will head to the statehouse himself in January after easily winning a runoff Tuesday night.

Kidd, a longtime lobbyist, will represent Milledgeville and the surrounding area in the Georgia House of Representatives, filling the year left on retired state Rep. Bobby Parham’s term.

Kidd also will stand for re-election to a full two-year term next year, assuming his health is OK then, he said Tuesday night.

Kidd, 63, out-distanced local businessman Darrell Black, 2,352 votes to 1,298, according to totals from the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office.

The state Democratic Party had backed Black, and Milledgeville’s District 141 has long been a party stronghold. But Kidd easily overwhelmed all of that to take more than 64 percent of the vote.

Kidd said the difference for voters was “probably experience.” He’s been a lobbyist and regular at the state Capitol for decades.

Priority No. 1 will be helping Milledgeville recover from the tough economic times that have hit it as hard as just about any community in Georgia, Kidd said.

Factory closings and state budget cuts — particularly problematic in an area that depends on Central State Hospital and various state corrections facilities — have sapped jobs out of the area.

State funding is sure to be tough to come by in the next legislative session, where state leaders expect to make more budget cuts, but Kidd promised to “try to parlay my friendship with these guys (at the Capitol) and help out wherever I can.” He said he met with Gov. Sonny Perdue a couple of weeks ago and is scheduled to meet with him again soon.

The special election to replace Parham was technically a nonpartisan one, but party politics played into it. Kidd registered as an independent and remained mum Tuesday night on who he’d caucus with at the Legislature — the Republican majority or the Democratic minority.

But he also said the Republican leadership already has contacted him about potential committee assignments.

And the Democratic Party made its thoughts on Kidd clear when it paid to send out mailers bashing his history as a lobbyist for the adult entertainment industry, his Milledgeville area Quick Loans businesses and his role in a 1995 scandal involving golf, strippers and several state legislators.

To contact writer Travis Fain, call 744-4213.