Rep. Quincy Murphy’s widow will face a retired Army lieutenant colonel and a retired educator in the Nov. 5 special election to complete the final year of Murphy’s term.
Murphy, an Augusta insurance salesman, was serving his fifth term in the Georgia House of Representatives when he died Aug. 2 after a battle with cancer. He was 60.
At the close of qualifying Wednesday, three Democrats – Dianne Murphy, Diane B. Evans of Avera and Brian Prince of Augusta – had stepped forward to run.
Quincy Murphy’s wife of 35 years and the mother of his two grown children, Dianne Murphy, 61, is employed at Jenkins-White Elementary School, according to previous Augusta Chronicle reports. She did not return messages seeking comment Wednesday.
A former Glenn Hills High School standout, Brian Prince, 49, graduated from Fort Valley State University, Central Michigan University and the Army Command and General Staff College, according to a news release. He retired from the U.S. Army at the rank of lieutenant colonel and most recently worked as a consultant for military contractor Booz Allen Hamilton.
Prince said he’ll provide “dedicated and experienced leadership” if elected, according to the release. He did not return a call seeking comment.
Redrawn in 2010, House District 127 spans Fort Gordon north to the area around Doctors Hospital and east to Regency Mall. It also stretches south to include Blythe and most of Jefferson County, including tiny Avera, Ga., home of Diane Evans.
Evans, 52, is a longtime state Democratic party activist who serves as chair of the Jefferson County Democratic party, secretary of the Georgia Association of Democratic County Chairs and member of the state Democratic committee. She graduated from Georgia Southern University, retired after 25 years as school nutrition director and classroom teacher and holds a master’s of divinity and doctor of ministry from Erskine College.
Reached on her way home from visiting friends Wednesday in Augusta, Evans, a widow, said while it was an unfortunate path to elected office, “this is my time to run another campaign” in the “two counties that I hold very dear to me.”
Evans ran as a write-in in the 2010 race to fill the Senate District 23 seat vacated by former Augusta Commissioner J.B. Powell, who stepped down to run for Georgia Agriculture Commissioner. After candidate Leon Garvin withdrew and Chuck Pardue, who obtained 6,000 signatures to run as an independent, also abandoned the race, Evans undertook a whirlwind campaign as a write-in against Republican candidate Jesse Stone. She got 406 write-in votes in the eight-county race.
The bubbly Democrat who learned to swim at age 42 said she remains in contact with many of the people she met during the 2010 campaign.
“I have a passion for people,” she said, including the young and the elderly who suffer when state budgets are cut. While Jefferson County is rural compared to the urban and military areas of District 127 in Richmond County, “we have similar needs. Jobs, the economic problems, the military base,” she said.
There is no primary before the special election. If none of the three candidates win a majority of votes Nov. 5, the top two enter a runoff Dec. 3. The election is the only one in Richmond County this year besides municipal races in Hephzibah and Blythe.
Morris News Service contributed to this report.