State Reps. David Stover (left) and Matt Gurtler (center) speak to activists and citizens on March 7, 2019. Chris Joyner / chris.joyner@ajc.com

Two Republican candidates advance to Georgia House runoff

A special election for a state House seat representing the Newnan area is heading to a runoff between Republicans Philip Singleton and Marcy Westmoreland Sakrison.

Singleton and Sakrison received received the most votes Tuesday in the four-candidate race to replace Republican state Rep. David Stover, who resigned in June.

A runoff will be held Oct. 1 because none of the candidates received more than 50% of the vote.

Singleton, an Army veteran and former congressional candidate, has run as an anti-establishment candidate. Singleton hasn’t explicitly opposed House Speaker David Ralston, but won the endorsement of WSB pundit Erick Erickson, who has called for Ralston’s ouster.

Sakrison, the daughter of former U.S. Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, is a private school teacher supported by prominent Republicans including Ralston, a Republican from Blue Ridge.

Before leaving office, Stover was one of 10 Republican legislators who signed a resolution calling for Ralston to resign over his handling of court cases. Ralston, a defense attorney, frequently delayed criminal cases by claiming court dates interfered with his legislative duties, according to an investigation by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Channel 2 Action News.

The lone Democrat in the race, Jill Prouty, came in third place. Republican Nina Blackwelder finished in fourth place.

The winner of the runoff will represent more than 55,000 voters in House District 71 in Coweta and Fayette counties southwest of Atlanta.

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