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24 September 2008

H.D.61: Ralph Long's Residency Challenged By Three Former Opponents

Back in July and August, Democrat Ralph Long defeated five candidates to capture his party's nomination for the open district 61 state House seat being vacated by retiring state Representative Bob Holmes. Since there were no Republicans contesting that seat, when Long became the Democratic nominee, he effectively became the presumptive state Representative-elect. However, three of Ralph Long's former opponents, in the Democratic primary, have filed a challenge to his residency seeking to get him removed from the November ballot.

Paul Lockhart, Tony McCann, and Keisha Waites --who came in 5th, 6th and 2nd in the July 15th Democratic primary respectively [Source: Georgia Secretary of State, Georgia Election Results, July 22, 2008]-- claim that Ralph Long "will not have met the Constitutional and Statutory residency requirements for the office of State Representative" and that by claiming to live in the 61st district, Long "intentionally deceived and defrauded the voters of the 61st District."

The residency challenge also alleges that Long never claimed homestead exemption for his residence and that he did not reside in Georgia for one year prior to his candidacy. The challenge says that based on utility bills, Long was actually living in an apartment in Washington, D.C.

If the challenge to Ralph Long's residency is successful, it's expected that a special Democratic primary will be held to fill the vacancy on the Democratic ticket.