Matt Laughridge, vice president of Terry Reid Automotive in Cartersville and self-described owner of several area businesses, held events in Cartersville and Canton earlier this month to announce his candidacy and Wednesday qualified with the Secretary of State's office, according to its website.
But Laughridge may not meet residency requirements to run for the seat. According to the secretary of state, candidates for state senate "must be a resident of the district which he or she represents, and at the time of his or her election must have been a resident of the territory embraced within such district for at least one year preceding such time."
Laughridge in the November 2012 county special election voted at the Kingston precinct in District 52, according to Bartow County voter records obtained by Patch.
Bartow County Elections Supervisor Joseph Kirk said Laughridge's previous Reynolds Road address in Kingston also would not have been in the newly-created District 14 prior to last year's reapportionment and redistricting.
The Republican—whose platform is economic growth, education and better government—in August changed his residence on file with the Bartow County Voter Registration and Elections office to a Peeples Valley Road address in Cartersville, Kirk said.
The Secretary of State's general counsel now is looking into the possibility Laughridge doesn't meet the residency requirement to qualify for the District 14 seat, according to Kirk.
The special election to fill the vacant District 14 seat is set for Nov. 5. The last ballot Laughridge cast in Bartow was Nov. 6, 2012, at the Kingston precinct in District 52.
Patch also requested a copies of Laughridge's declaration and notice of candidacy and accompanying affidavits, but has yet to receive a response from the Secretary of State's office.
Melanie Collier, Laughridge's campaign spokeswoman, said he has lived in District 14 "the appropriate time" and indicated an explanation as to the "confusion" surrounding his residency is forthcoming.
If allowed to compete for the seat, Laughridge faces challenges from four other Republicans. One Democrat has qualified for the post. In addition to Laughridge, candidates who have qualified are:
- Republican Nicole Ebbeskotte of Woodstock,
- Democrat Christopher G. Nesmith of Adairsville,
- Republican Dwight Pullen of Canton,
- Republican Dean Sheridan of Acworth in southwest Cherokee County and
- Republican Bruce Thompson of White.
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.
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