Three qualify for vacant State House seat

Special election is Feb. 7

An Atlanta businesswoman, and an emergency management consultant, were two of the people who emerged as candidates to replace former State Rep. Gloria Tinubu as one of Clayton County’s representatives in the state legislature, according to the Georgia Secretary of State’s office.

Qualifying to fill the vacant State House of Representatives seat, which represents parts of southeast Fulton county, southwest DeKalb County and north-central Clayton County, concluded at noon, on Wednesday. The two-and-a-half day qualifying period yielded a candidate field that includes a trio of women from Atlanta.

“We had three people who qualified to run for the seat, and all three are Democrats,” said Secretary of State Spokesperson Matt Carrothers.

Voters in House District 60 are expected to go to the polls on Feb. 7, for a non-partisan special election to choose a replacement for Tinubu, who abruptly resigned last month, with plans to move to South Carolina.

A run-off election –– if needed –– has been scheduled to take place on March 6, the same day as Georgia’s Republican Presidential Primary.

The candidates for the legislative seat include: Theresa F. Middlebrooks, 52, occupation listed as “NA” (Not Applicable); Latrenka R. Riley, 50, a business owner, and Keisha Sean Waites, 39, an emergency management consultant.

Middlebrooks and Riley could not be reached for comment Wednesday after a reporter attempted to contact them through e-mail addresses they provided to the Secretary of State’s office.

Waites said she could not immediately respond to questions because she was heavily engaged in campaign-related activities on Wednesday. She pledged to answer the reporter’s questions as soon as she could, however.

“I will return the responses to your questionnaire ASAP, as I am out in the evenings canvassing before it gets dark at 6 p.m., and spend my days phone banking and fund-raising,” Waites wrote in an e-mail to the reporter.

The Secretary of State’s office announced Feb. 3 as the deadline for voters to apply for an absentee ballot to participate in the special election. Clayton voters are asked to apply for their absentee ballots at the Clayton County Elections and Registration office, located at 121 South McDonough St.

Carrothers said that although the early voting period is set to begin 21 days before an election (which would have been this past Monday), early voting in this case should begin “as soon as the local elections offices can get their ballots printed.”