Updated at 3:50 p.m.:
One of the questions generated by U.S. Rep. Nathan Deal’s decision to delay his departure from Congress is whether it might cause Gov. Sonny Perdue to schedule the non-partisan special election to fill out the rest of the congressman’s term at the same time as the July primary to decide who gets the full term come January.
Concurrent votes, it has been theorized, would boost the July turnout in north Georgia – which might benefit Deal in the Republican race for governor.
Concurrent votes might also save counties some money, it has been posited.
But here’s why Perdue is still likely to call a special election this spring, probably early to mid-May – aside from the fact that Deal and Perdue have never really gotten along:
Under Georgia law, the runoff period for special elections is four weeks. But the runoff period for general primaries is three weeks.
A special election in May would, in this candidate-heavy contest, probably result in a June runoff. Followed by a July primary for the full term. That’s a lot of voting.
But if the special election and the primary vote were held at the same time, you’d have an even more confusing calendar:
– Two July primary votes;
– A likely runoff on Aug. 10 for the term that begins in January 2011.
–Followed by an Aug 17 runoff vote to settle who fills out the rest of Deal’s term.
Counties in the 9th District would still be burdened with the extra cost of one vote. And voters would be hard put to keep up with what they’re voting for.
The bet here is that the governor will call for a May special election.
Update: Just ran into someone in the state Capitol who expounded on this topic. Assume, he said, the May special election and a June runoff.
The July primary vote could easily become a rematch between the top two vote-getters. In which there would be no primary runoff, and county-by-county expenses are further reduced.
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