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Judge clears Beach to run for Senate seat
by Kristal Dixon
kdixon@cherokeetribune.com
July 16, 2012 10:38 AM | 911 views | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A complaint filed against Georgia Senate District 21 candidate Brandon Beach challenging his qualifications to run for office has been dismissed.

Beach is challenging Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers (R-Woodstock) for his seat in the state Legislature.

Administrative law Judge Ronit Walker tossed out the complaint from Woodstock resident Robert Grove, who contended Beach could not run for the state Senate since he already held another elected office.

The 10-page ruling was signed Thursday by the judge in the state Office of Administrative Hearings.

Beach, who lives in Alpharetta, sits on the Georgia Department of Transportation’s board, representing the sixth Congressional district. GDOT board members are elected to serve by legislators from their respective districts.

Beach welcomed the judge’s ruling Friday, saying “there was not ever any question that I was qualified to run (in) this race.”

He also said he felt the complaint was another example of Rogers “trying to protect his job.”

“We should let the voters decide who will be the next senator,” he added.

Rogers said Friday he’s never met or spoken with Grove, the man who filed the complaint.

The judge ruled Beach meets the state’s qualifications to run for the Senate: He’s at least 25 years old, has lived in Senate District 21 for one year and has been a citizen of the state for two years.

Grove cited Article II, Section II, Paragraph V of the Georgia Constitution as the basis of his argument.

The provision requires “the office of any state, county or municipal elected official shall be declared vacant upon such elected official qualifying, in a general primary or general election … for another state, county or municipal elective office.”

The judge noted Beach’s position on the board was not one in which he was elected by voters, thus not being subjected to the constitutional requirement.

The issue of GDOT board members running for state offices was mulled by lawmakers earlier this year when Sen. John Albers (R-Rowell), who defeated Beach in 2010, introduced legislation that would have required GDOT members to resign from the board before seeking elected office.

The legislation did not make it through during the session.
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