The first hat is in the ring in the battle to capture the Georgia Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Josh McKoon.
A year before qualifying and more than 14 months prior to the primary election, retired Muscogee County Sheriff’s Office major and Georgia Fraternal Order of Police President Randy Robertson filed his intent to seek the District 29 seat.
Robertson will run as a Republican.
The paperwork filed with the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission on Wednesday will allow Robertson to begin raising money for the Republican Primary on May 22, 2018. McKoon, first elected to the seat in 2010, announced in January that he will not seek re-election next year.
Robertson, 54, said his 30 years in law enforcement gives him an unique perspective as he seeks the office. He retired in October 2015.
“There is no one in the House or the Senate that has the law enforcement background that I would bring to this job,” said Robertson, a 2010 graduate of the FBI National Academy in Virginia and the former Columbus Homeland Security director under former Mayor Jim Wetherington. “The Legislature often deals with issues such as criminal justice reform and I would bring subject-matter expertise to those discussions.”
Robertson said he has had conversations with people who live in District 29 as well as Republicans on the state level about the post. The 2018 election will bring about political change in the state, and that appealed to him.
“You are going to have a new governor, you will have a new lieutenant governor and there will be a lot of change in Atlanta,” Robertson said. “I think it would be an exciting time to be there as a conservative representing District 29.”
The General Election is in November 2018, but the next state senator for the district that covers northern Muscogee County, southern Troup County and all of Harris and Meriwether counties will likely be decided in the Republican Primary because it an overwhelmingly conservative district.
Robertson said he entered the race now for a reason.
“I think you are going to have to eat this elephant one bite at a time and you need to start early because there is a lot of work to do,” Robertson said. “It is a large district with a lot of people and I want them to know I am running.”
LaGrange Mayor Jim Thornton said last month he would consider a run for the Senate, but recently announced he would seek re-election as mayor. Columbus attorneys Mark Post and Ted Morgan both indicated a month ago they were interested in the seat McKoon was vacating. Robertson is the only one to file the paperwork with the Secretary of State.
Robertson, who resides in Cataula with his wife, Theresa, was born and raised in Harris County and graduated from Harris County High School.
Robertson’s campaign committee will be chaired by Columbus attorney and Harris County resident Neal Callahan and the treasurer will be Columbus CPA Brad Clements.