By Joel Hall
State Rep. Mike Glanton (D-Ellenwood) announced this week that he will not seek re-election to his House seat in 2010 and, instead, will run for the State Senate District 44 seat.
State Sen. Gail Buckner (D-Morrow), who current holds that seat, has, in turn, announced that she will make a run for a statewide position.
On July 1, Glanton filed a declaration of intent with the State Ethics Commission to receive campaign donations to run for the District 44 seat. As of Friday, no other candidate had filed a declaration of intent to seek that office in 2010.
Glanton publicly announced his decision this week. While the 2010 election is more than a year away, he said he is confident about his decision. "What helped me make that decision was praying about it and deciding that I was called to the increased responsibility," he said.
"As effective as I have been blessed to be in the House," he said, "you are competing against 179 [other] people who are trying to do the same thing for their districts. In the Senate, there are only 56 [seats] ... it gives you a greater potential to do more for the citizens of Clayton County."
Buckner, who currently represents District 44 in the State Senate, served in the House for 16 years (from 1990 to 2006) prior to being elected to the Senate in 2008. In 2006, she sought election as Secretary of State, but was unsuccessful. Now, she is ready to seek a statewide office again, she said, but has not decided whether it will be as a candidate for Lt. Governor or Secretary of State.
"I have extensive experience working in state government," she said. "I believe in the honor of public service, so I am ready, able, and willing to serve at the state level.
"When qualifying comes around next year, I will qualify for a statewide position ... either Secretary of State or Lt. Governor," she said.
Buckner said she was first informed of Glanton's decision on Thursday night during a small, private gathering at the Lake Spivey Country Club. While the announcement was sudden, she is supporting Glanton and believes having him in the Senate would be advantageous to Georgia Democrats.
"There will be a big turnover of incumbents in the next election, because a significant number of senators will be leaving," Buckner said. "He [Glanton] should be able to move up much more quickly in the Senate than in the House. I think that Democrats are poised to take the majority of the Senate seats in 2010. We only need three more seats [to have a majority] and those seats are looking very appealing right now.
"[Glanton] is clearly a person we can be proud of," she said. "We have been honored to have him in the House of Representatives and I will continued to be honored to have him as my state senator."
Glanton said he believes running for the senate seat will help him achieve greater things for the constituents of House District 76, his current district. He said that if elected to the Senate, transportation funding, education, and tax reform will be among his top priorities.
"My current House District lies 100 percent within Senate District 44," he said. "That, again, was very important to me, because I am very passionate about the constituency of [House] District 76, because they have really motivated me to go beyond what is required of a legislator. I will go to the Senate with the same passion, the same fire, the same commitment to issues impacting this area."