Because last year’s redistricting created the new 14th Congressional District, the region no longer has a representative on the board.
State legislators who represent any part of the new district will hold a formal nomination period Feb. 12. The vote is taken in secret.
“It will be a fairly competitive race but until those candidates are actually nominated we don’t know for sure who will be running,” said Rep. Katie Dempsey, R-Rome.
Dempsey said someone from Dalton is interested in holding the post, but she declined to name the person.
Jeff Lewis, who was the previous local representative on the board, remained in the 11th Congressional District.
The 14th Congressional District includes all of Floyd, Polk, Gordon, Chattooga, Paulding, Murray, Walker, Whitfield, Haralson, Catoosa and Dade counties, and part of Pickens County.
Eight of the 14 seats on the DOT board will be voted on in elections this week.
Including the 14th representative, three seats are vacant. The 6th district seat is vacant because board member Brandon Beach resigned after winning a special election to the state Senate last month. As a senator, he’ll get to vote on his successor.
The District 1 seat is also vacant because the new boundaries don’t include the homes of any current board members.
Legislators who vote on more than half of the seats on the State Transportation Board have the opportunity to dramatically change the direction of road-building policy in the state Department of Transportation.
It’s unusual for so many seats to come up for election at once since the members serve staggered, five-year terms. But the outcome may spell few upsets, according to observers.
“Everybody, from the governor, to the lieutenant governor, to the speaker, to the legislators, they all have indicated they are happy with the way things are going,” said Don Grantham, a board member from Augusta who used to represent the 10th and is now in the 12th District and won’t be up for election until next year.
Morris News Service contributed to this report.