Georgia’s “religious liberty” senator joins Secretary of State race

Georgia Sen. Josh McKoon, best-known for being one of the General Assembly's leading proponents of "religious liberty" legislation and a champion of strengthening ethics laws, made it official Thursday that he's running for Secretary of State in 2018.

McKoon is one of several Republicans, including Reps. Buzz Brockway, R-Lawrenceville, and Brad Raffensperger, R-Johns Creek, and Alpharetta Mayor David Belle Isle, who have joined the race to replace Secretary of State Brian Kemp. Former Rockdale County Tax Commissioner R.J. Hadley is running for the Democratic Party nomination.

Kemp is running for governor instead of re-election in 2018.

McKoon filed the paperwork to begin raisng money and posted a message on Facebook Thursday.

McKoon, a Columbus Republican, announced earlier this year he would not seek re-election to his Senate seat. There had been speculation in the past that he’d run for governor or attorney general, but he passed on both races.

McKoon has gained enemies among fellow lawmakers and statehouse lobbyists for his outspokenness on many issues, including Capitol ethics, and for pushing for more openness in how the General Assembly operates.