The beginning of the legislative session has winnowed the crowded field to replace Rep. Tom Price.
Our AJC colleague Kyle Wingfield reported this morning that state Rep. Chuck Martin is out of the running. And state Sen. Brandon Beach said he won’t run for Congress if he becomes chair of the Senate Transportation Committee, which was announced later Monday.
That leaves state Sen. Judson Hill as the only confirmed legislator running in the special election, which will be set by Gov. Nathan Deal after Price formally resigns.
House Speaker Pro Tem Jan Jones and state Sen. John Albers already took themselves out of the running; Price’s wife, state Rep. Betty Price, has said it was “premature” to comment until Gov. Nathan Deal sets the vote.
Two other GOP contenders are likely to join the race: Former Secretary of State Karen Handel and ex-state Sen. Dan Moody. (Handel is not likely to enter the race until after Price’s confirmation hearing).
Dunwoody jeweler Bruce LeVell, who was head of Donald Trump’s national diversity coalition, is also considering a bid. Joseph Pond, a union plumber from Marietta, is seeking office as an independent. And several other self-styled GOP outsiders could still run.
On the Democratic side of the race, there are at least four candidates in the running: Former state Rep. Sally Harrell, attorney Josh McLaurin, one-time House aide Jon Ossoff and former state Sen. Ron Slotin.
Democrats face an uphill battle in the heavily conservative district, which stretches from east Cobb to north DeKalb. Price, who was tapped as Donald Trump’s health secretary, won it by more than 60 percent of the vote.
Read more about the race to replace Price: