A ruling could come in the next several days on whether two candidates can proceed with their bids to become the next Georgia State Senator to represent District 14.
An administrative law judge is expected to deliberate over the coming days on challenges to the candidacies of Matt Lauhgridge of Cartersville and Dean Sheridan of southwest Cherokee County.
That judge will then send those recommendations to Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp, who will make the final ruling on whether both can proceed with their campaigns.
Bartow County Election Supervisor Joseph Kirk attended the hearings this morning and said arguments were presented on both sides in the challenges against the two Republican contenders.
A challenge against Democratic candidate Christopher G. Nesmith of Adairsville was withdrawn, according to Kirk.
While Sheridan is accused of failing to pay employee withholding taxes in 2008, challengers say Laughridge doesn't meet the residency requirement to run for the District 14 seat vacated by Barry Loudermilk, who resigned to focus in his Congressional bid.
Kirk said the final ruling in Laughridge's and Sheridan's cases could come in several days, as the judge's recommendation will be sent to the Secretary of State's office, which may take a couple more days to issue a ruling.
"My recommendation is that people thinking of voting for either Laughridge or Sheridan hold off on early voting or sending in an absentee ballot" until then, Kirk added.
Other candidates who have qualified for the Nov. 5 special election are:
- Republican Nicole Ebbeskotte of Woodstock,
- Republican Dwight Pullen of Canton and
- Republican Bruce Thompson of White.
The winner of the special election will represent portions of eastern Bartow, western Cherokee and a very small portion of northeast Cobb County in the Georgia General Assembly.
Loudermilk last month resigned to focus on his bid to become the next U.S. Congressman from Georgia. He is running for the Georgia District 11 seat to replace Phil Gingrey, who is running for the U.S. Senate.