There will be only one contested race in the Columbus General Assembly delegation this year.
Qualifying ended at noon Friday and the six incumbents who want their jobs back get a free pass because no one qualified to run against them.
Sen. Ed Harbison, D-Columbus; Rep. Calvin Symre, D-Columbus; Rep. Richard Smith, R-Columbus; Rep. Kip Smith, R-Columbus; Rep. Carolyn Hugley, D-Columbus; Rep. Debbie Buckner, D-Junction City all escaped without opposition.
The Senate District 29 seat that is being vacated by Republican Seth Harp, who is running statewide for Commissioner of Insurance, has one Republican and two Democrats vying for the job.
Local attorney Josh McKoon is the lone Republican the seat and will be the nominee in the Nov. 2 General Election. Retiree Evelyn Thompson Anderson of Grantville and Columbus physician Joseph Hurst qualified as Democrats and will meet in the July 20 primary.
McKoon has been running for the seat for almost a year. He has raised more than $170,000 and has more than $130,000 in the bank as he waits for a Democratic challenger. That seat, which includes North Columbus, the southern part of Troup County, Harris County and Meriwether County has been in Republican hands since 1994. Harp held it for 10 years.
“An open state senate seat is not something that comes along every day,” McKoon said. “If you had told me last year on June 9 when we started running that there would not be an opponent in the primary, I would not have believed you.”
Columbus attorney Ron Mullins was in the race until early this year when he withdrew to seek a vacant Superior Court judgeship.McKoon said he will continue to raise money and travel throughout the district as he prepares for the general election.
“We’re going to keep doing what we have been doing,” McKoon said.
Anderson has sought the senate seat before, losing handily in the last two elections to Harp.
Hurst said he got in the race because he wants to serve the people of the district.
“I am a family practice physician and I am used to serving,” Hurst said.
He concedes McKoon has the financial advantage.
“He has raised a lot of money and that is admirable,” Hurst said. “But money is not everything. I am going to door to door talking to the constituents.”
Harbison is relieved he is not facing opposition for the first time in three elections.
“I am comforted the people of the district have the confidence in me to work hard and do the best job I can for them,” Harbison said.