Kemp vis­its

The Covington News - - FRONT PAGE - BRYAN FAZIO bfazio@cov­news.com

Ge­or­gia Sec­re­tary of State Brian Kemp vis­ited with the Cov­ing­ton Ro­tary Club Tues­day.

The 2014 Ge­or­gia State Leg­isla­tive Ses­sion has been dubbed “Fast and Fu­ri­ous” by some pun­dits and pub­li­ca­tions, thanks to an early start to the pri­mary elec­tions.

That means a few things, in­clud­ing that Sen. Saxby Cham­b­liss’ seat is up for grabs, state elec­tions will be held in sync with the May 20 U.S. House and Se­nate pri­mary, and, ac­cord­ing to Ge­or­gia Sec­re­tary of State Brian Kemp, “nine weeks of can­di­dates bash­ing each other.”

Kemp, who spoke at a Cov­ing­ton Ro­tary lun­cheon Tues­day, ex­plained his of­fice’s big­gest is­sue of the leg­isla­tive sea­son, get­ting the bill passed to move up elec­tions to the end of May. That was his of­fice’s No. 1 goal this year, and so far it is on track. The bill, which ear­lier passed in Se­nate, passed in the House Fri­day and is await­ing the gov­er­nor’s sig­na­ture.

Kemp said all that is left is for the state’s lawyers to look it over and put it on Nathan Deal’s desk.

The move in elec­tion dates was one to help sim­plify the process af­ter a fed­eral judge or­dered Ge­or­gia to hold its pri­mary about two months ear­lier than in the past.

“It would have been a night­mare for us to have to have two dif­fer­ent pri­maries,” Kemp said. “Ob­vi­ously it would have been very ex­pen­sive for the coun­ties and the state. It would have been an ad­min­is­tra­tive night­mare for us, and been very con­fus­ing for the vot­ers.”

In or­der for it not to be a night­mare for the can­di­dates, they are try­ing to stream­line the leg­isla­tive process.

While the me­dia is talk­ing about medic­i­nal mar­i­juana and a bill about car­ry­ing guns on col­lege cam­puses, ac­cord­ing to Kemp leg­is­la­tors are fo­cused on mak­ing it a speedy ses­sion. The bud­get is the main is­sue, as cam­paigns will need to be started as soon as pos­si­ble for the May 20 pri­mary date.

“I think it will be pretty quiet,” Kemp said. “I think ev­ery­one is go­ing to keep their heads down and try to get the bud­get passed.”

Pri­maries typ­i­cally take place later in the year, leav­ing about three weeks be­fore the July 22 runoff. How­ever this year there will be nine weeks be­tween pri­mary and runoffs.

“That’s go­ing to be the ear­li­est elec­tion for a pri­mary that I can re­mem­ber us hav­ing in Ge­or­gia,” Kemp said. “It is go­ing to be in­ter­est­ing to see how that pays off in the bal­lot box.”

Kemp has been Ge­or­gia’s Sec­re­tary of State since suc­ceed­ing Karen Han­del on Jan. 8, 2010.

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