Voters elect Columbia County commissioner to fill Georgia House vacancy

  • Voters in a Georgia state House district near Augusta selected Columbia County Commissioner Gary Richardson of Evans to fill a vacancy.
  • Gary Richardson won about 60% of the vote, defeating conservative commentator C.J. Pearson of Grovetown.
  • The vacancy arose when Republican Rep. Barry Fleming resigned to become a superior court judge.

Voters in a Georgia state House district near Augusta have chosen a county commissioner to fill a vacancy created when the former representative stepped down to become a judge.

In state House District 125, Columbia County Commissioner Gary Richardson of Evans beat conservative commentator C.J. Pearson of Grovetown on Tuesday, with Richardson winning about 60% of the vote with all precincts reporting, according to unofficial results.

Richardson and Pearson were vying to replace Republican Rep. Barry Fleming, who resigned to become a superior court judge. They advanced to a runoff after finishing first and second in February, besting Republican and farmer James Steed of Grovetown, Democrat and cosmetologist Kay Turner of Grovetown and Libertarian and software developer John Turpish of Grovetown.

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Pearson and Richardson will face off again in the May Republican primary, seeking a full two-year term.

Atlanta Capitol building

The Georgia State Capitol is seen in Atlanta. Voters in a Georgia state House district near Augusta have chosen a county commissioner to fill a vacancy created when the former representative stepped down to become a judge. (Joe Sohm/Visions of America/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

The district covers parts of Columbia and McDuffie counties.

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Richardson, a car wash owner who can’t run again for county commission because of term limits, touted his experience in public service.

Pearson overcame a residency challenge while winning endorsements from hard-right conservatives and campaigning on a Trump aligned-platform. The 21-year-old Pearson has been opposed by Gov. Brian Kemp’s political organization after Pearson helped manage the primary campaign of Kemp challenger Vernon Jones in 2022.

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