Georgia Republican senator joins race for congressional seat opened by Rep. Drew Ferguson’s retirement

A Georgia state senator is joining the race for an open congressional seat.

Mike Dugan, a Carrollton Republican, filed papers with the Federal Election Commission on Wednesday to start raising campaign contributions for the 3rd Congressional District.

The seat is opening up because four-term incumbent Drew Ferguson announced in December that he would not seek reelection. The solidly Republican district hugs the Georgia-Alabama state line as far south as Columbus and includes some areas south of Atlanta as far east as Barnesville and Griffin.

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Dugan was first elected to the state Senate in 2012 and said he would resign Thursday, which would trigger a special election for his seat.

“It is time to get back to a government that works for the people, and I would be honored to be the voice that represents Georgia’s 3rd Congressional District,” Dugan said in a statement.

Dugan rose to Senate majority leader in 2019, but lost a 2022 bid to become president pro tem, the top post elected by the members. That left his influence downgraded, and Dugan expressed unhappiness with how Carroll County was split in the special redistricting session that ended in December.

Dugan is a former Army Ranger and paratrooper who retired as a lieutenant colonel in 2008 after more than 20 years of service. More recently he has worked as a construction contractor.

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The Republican field in the race already includes state Rep. David Jenkins of Grantville, a farmer and retired Army helicopter pilot; Jim Bennett, a party activist from Carroll County who has criticized Ferguson as insufficiently conservative; and Michael Corbin, who previously ran for Congress in Gwinnett County.

Other Republicans who could run include state Sen. Matt Brass of Newnan; former state Rep. Philip Singleton of Sharpsburg; state Sen. Randy Robertson of Cataula; Brian Jack, a former White House political director for President Donald Trump and former aide to House Speaker Kevin McCarthy; and Chris West, who lost a bid for southwest Georgia’s 2nd Congressional District in 2022 to longtime Democratic incumbent Sanford Bishop. West recently moved from Thomasville to Newnan.

Democrat Rodney Moore is also running.

The congressional primary is May 21, and a runoff for the Republican nomination would be June 18 if needed. The general election is Nov. 5.

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