State Rep. Earl "Buddy" Carter will announce his plan to run for the Georgia Senate - District 1 in a special election expected to be scheduled for Nov. 3.
The announcement is expected at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Savannah International Trade and Convention Center on Hutchinson Island.
Carter said his platform will includes plans job creation, a stronger tourism base and better schools and training initiatives to strengthen the education opportunities for Georgians. Carter will also focus on health care issues including trauma care funding and Medicaid reimbursements for local hospitals.
"I am announcing my candidacy for the Georgia Senate with great enthusiasm. We simply must find reasonable solutions to this state's most pressing problems which includes job creation and trauma care. The Coastal Empire including Chatham County, Bryan County and Liberty County has made great strides in becoming one of the fastest growing areas, and I look forward to helping take our issues to the Georgia Senate," Carter said.
Carter has served in the Georgia General Assembly since 2005 as the representative for District 159. He also has served as mayor of Pooler for five terms as well as chairman of the Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Planning Commission and of the Coastal Georgia Regional Development Center. He is the owner of Carter Pharmacies with three locations around Savannah. He is married and has three sons, one living in New York City, and two attending the University of Georgia.
The election will likely take place in November as he is seeking the seat of Sen. Eric Johnson who is running for governor.
-- Carter campaign news release
"I am fully committed in my race for governor and find that I am not capable of being a full-time senator and servant first and a full-time candidate and do not want to leave my constituents behind," Johnson said at a news conference under the Capitol rotunda.
The timing of his departure, Johnson said, would allow Gov. Sonny Perdue and Secretary of State Karen Handel to call a special election in conjunction with the municipal elections scheduled for November.
Johnson cited three main reasons for deciding to focus more heavily on his campaign: a desire to talk to the people of Georgia to make sure the government reflects their needs; to ensure that no taxpayer funds are being used for his campaign; and because of what as he sees as a shift in campaign momentum in his favor in recent weeks.
Johnson said that when he entered the race he thought he would be able to balance campaigning with his responsibilities to his district. But he currently spends about one day a week in Savannah and the rest of his time campaigning elsewhere and felt like he was beginning to neglect his constituents, he said.
Johnson said he did not resign because of concerns about limited fundraising opportunities during the legislative session or because of any other candidate's plans.
"The other candidates are either slowing or have peaked," he said. "We believe we're the only one that is accelerating, both financially and in organization."
Term limits prevent Perdue, a Republican, from running again. The other Republicans in the primary race are: Handel, state Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine, U.S. Rep. Nathan Deal of Gainesville, state Rep. Austin Scott of Tifton, state Senator Jeff Chapman of Brunswick, and activist Ray McBerry of McDonough.
The former Senate president pro tem, Johnson was first elected to the Georgia House of Representatives in 1992 and to the state Senate in 1994.