In the eleventh hour, Democrat Jody Cooley qualified for the Ninth District Congressional Race today. Cooley, a Gainesville Attorney, qualified just before noon, throwing a curve to a race that has been, until now, purely Republican. Martha Zoller, Roger Fitzpatrick, and Rep Doug Collins also qualified for the July 31st Primary. Hunter Bicknell suspended his congressional run Thursday, but said he will qualify for reelection as Jackson County Commission Chairman. The remaining Candidate, Clifton McDuffie did not qualify.
The candidates compete to represent the newly created Ninth Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives. In the wake of the recent redistricting, a new district was created, the 14th, forging also a new Ninth District. Representative from the current Ninth, Tom Graves will move to the new 14th, leaving a vacancy in the new district.
Prior to Cooley’s qualification, with only Republicans in the contest, the July 31st Primary would have decided the race. Now, however, the July Primary will only be the first part of the contest. The second part and final decision will come in November during the General Election.