South Georgia state House member resigns from office, seeks Senate seat

Credit: Alyssa Pointer /

Credit: Alyssa Pointer /

A South Georgia member of the state House who heads a budget subcommittee has resigned to run for a soon-to-be vacant state Senate seat.

Rep. Sam Watson, a Moultrie Republican, is the second legislator from that part of the state to step down from office this week after winning reelection about six weeks earlier.

His resignation triggers a special election to fill his District 172 seat. District 172 includes Colquitt County and parts of Cook and Thomas counties.

Gov. Brian Kemp scheduled a special election for Jan. 31.

Watson’s district is within Senate District 11, which will also have a special election Jan. 31 to replace state Sen. Dean Burke, a Bainbridge Republican. Burke resigned earlier this week to become the Department of Community Health’s new chief medical officer. His resignation will take effect Dec. 31.

Watson announced Friday that he will run for the soon-to-be vacant Senate seat.

Watson, a farmer, was first elected to the House in 2012. He serves as chairman of the House Appropriations General Government Subcommittee.