A 74-year-old former state representative who has been out of the General Assembly for 35 years is the latest candidate to announce his intentions to run for the vacant House District 129 seat.
Earl Davis, a Harris County businessman, said Tuesday he will run for the seat vacated by Rep. Vance Smith, who was named commissioner of the Georgia Department of Transportation last week.
Davis was not the only one to express interest in what could become a crowded field.
Bradley Park Drive McDonald’s store manager John Pezold said he was considering the possibility of running for the office and will make a decision in the next week.
Four people have said they will run in the special election and at least three more are considering it.
Davis represented North Columbus in the House from 1968 to 1974, when he was defeated by Jack King. For the past 18 years, he has lived in Harris County between Hamilton and Cataula.
“I have been waiting a long time for Vance to move on,” Davis said. “I know a lot of people approved of what he was doing and he could stay as long as he wanted.”
Smith has held the seat since 1992.
When Davis was in the General Assembly, he was the only Republican in the Columbus delegation and one of only 23 in the legislature.
Davis said his experience is his biggest selling point.
“It seems to me you need some experienced voices there because of the things that our happening today,” Davis said.
Davis brings the total of announced candidates to four with at least two other people seriously considering a run for the office.
Those who have announced:
• Muscogee County Republican party activist and a financial representative with Northwestern Mutual Financial Networt Colin Martin.
• Publication consultant and a former radio and television talk-show host Jerry Luquire.
• Pine Mountain salon owner Steve Earles.
Those who have confirmed they are considering a run are:
• Kip Smith, the 27-year-old son of state Rep. Vance Smith, said he is “seriously considering” running for the office. Vance Smith was named commissioner of the Georgia Department of Transportation on Thursday and must resign his House post to take that position.
• Retired Realtor Ted Land, 72, served in the Georgia Senate from 1979-1990 and on Columbus Council for 2 1/2 years in the mid-1990s. He said Monday it is a “distinct possibility” he will run.
Pezold, the 29-year-old son of local entreupner Jack Pezold, said he has been contacted by several people to consider running.
“I have been thinking about it and talking with my family about it,” Pezold said. “I have always been interested in giving back to this community, it has been very good to my family.”
Pezold is active in the Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce and worked with former U.S. Rep. Mack Collins.
District 129 includes parts of Muscogee, Harris and Troup counties. A special election will be held to fill the term. The election likely will be this fall.
State law requires the governor to call for the election, and then the Georgia Secretary of State must set qualifying dates. The General Assembly is not scheduled to convene again until January.