Republican Rep. Jim Cole, a three-term lawmaker from Forsyth in Middle Georgia, will be picked by Gov. Sonny Perdue to be the next Secretary of State, sources tell the AJC.
Cole, Perdue’s House floor leader, will replace Karen Handel, who announced last week she would resign to concentrate full time on her race for governor. Perdue’s office is expected to make the announcement Monday.
Cole, 38, will serve out the final year of Handel’s term. He will also run in 2010 for a full, four-year term.
Cole has been on Perdue’s House team for three years, carrying and pushing the governor’s legislation.
The Secretary of State’s Office incorporates business and oversees professional licensing boards and elections. The last three Secretaries of State have each gone on to run for governor. The Secretary of State before that, Max Cleland, wound up serving a term in the U.S. Senate.
Cole, who is married and has two children, has undergraduate and MBA degrees from Mercer University. According to his House biography, after leaving school he began Culligan Water of Middle Georgia. After growing the business and opening offices in both Macon and Columbus, Cole sold his business and took over as assistant athletic director for Mercer.