It's official. Charlie Norwood is spinning in his grave.
The seat of the late, great representative of Georgia's 10th Congressional District, who passed away in February, isn't going to be filled until a special election June 19. But that doesn't mean the business of the district is put on hold until then.
But what it does mean is that the 10th District, which in November gave more than 67 percent of its vote to Republican Norwood, currently is being run by a Democrat: the House clerk, an appointee and former staffer of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
As Rob Pavey's story pointed out Monday, House Clerk Lorraine Miller will supervise all operations of the seat - everything except voting.
Meanwhile, more candidates have voiced their intention to run for the seat. James Marlow jumped in recently as a Democrat, with a Morris News Service story saying he'd lined up unified support of Democrats in the district.
That would surely be a surprise to 10th District Democratic Party Chairman Terry Holley of Grovetown, one of the earliest-declared candidates for the seat, who received 57,000 votes in the district in his challenge to Norwood in November.
He isn't the only Democrat who has lost to Norwood before and is giving the race another shot: Denise Freeman apparently is considering a run, too.
Freeman ran against Norwood in 1998 and 2000. She received 40 percent of the district vote in 1998, and dropped to 37 percent in 2000.
In the unlikely event one of the nearly half-dozen Democrats who have voiced their intent to seek the seat were actually able to prevail in the heavily Republican district, they would surely be thrilled with Pelosi's interim management of the seat.
More likely, the Republican who wins will have to begin the first day in office with a headache-inducing House cleaning.
Meanwhile, the voters' first opportunity to see and hear all the candidates for the 10th District U.S. House seat will be sometime in early May at an old-fashioned "stump meeting" being planned by the Grovetown Merchants Association.
They've asked me to moderate the discussion, which mostly will mean introducing the speakers and getting out of the way. The meeting will probably be held at Grovetown Middle School, but the date won't be determined until after the qualifying period for the seat is announced.
And we don't yet know when qualifying will be, because it won't be set until the Georgia Legislature finishes its session. When they do, 24th District state Sen. Jim Whitehead is expected to be the only person already holding public office to announce for the 10th District seat.
The stump meeting will include invitations to the candidates who sign up for Whitehead's seat, too - three of them, thus far.
A county tour
I was intrigued to read The Chronicle's series last week in which local public figures were asked to give their route for an area tour.
Just a few days earlier, I had the privilege of assisting in a actual bus tour of Columbia County for members of the Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors Committee.
Convention and Visitors Bureau Director Beda Johnson organized the tour, and focused on providing hospitality information that the ambassadors could pass along to guests.
My role was offering historical snippets for different areas of the tour. And if the ambassadors are any indication, there is a terrific need for this county's citizens to get out more. (A couple of them had never driven on Harlem-Grovetown Road, for example.)
I've promised some people on the tour that I'll organize my notes so they could be used as a self-directed driving tour of the county. Once I finally put it all together, I'll post it on our Web site.
(Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.)
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