Originally created 05/14/98

Candidate seeking opponent's removal



Georgia House District 118 candidate Davida L. Johnson has asked the secretary of state's office to remove candidate Brian A. Wilson Sr.'s name from the Republican primary ballot.

Ms. Johnson and Mr. Wilson have qualified as Republicans for the July 21 primary. The winner will try to unseat Democratic incumbent Rep. Henry Howard in this fall's general election.

Ms. Johnson contends Mr. Wilson has not lived in District 118 for the required one year and should be disqualified. Mr. Wilson, however, said he has lived at 3203 Darwood Drive in the Pepperidge subdivision since May 1, 1997, although he did not change his voter registration until March this year.

"I fulfilled the residency requirement," he said. "She's filed a wrong challenge. I'm trying to get this thing thrown out."

But there's another problem concerning Mr. Wilson's residency. Darwood Drive, which is now in District 118, will be in District 119 on Jan. 1 because of redistricting.

Mr. Wilson said he didn't know about the redistricting and pending change when he qualified.

"Nobody knew the district would change," he said. "Nobody knew that come January it's going to be the 119th."

The latest redistricting stemmed from a consent order signed in 1997 by the state and plaintiffs in the federal lawsuit that brought about redistricting in 1996.

Ms. Johnson was one of the plaintiffs in that case, which went to the U.S. Supreme Court. The court ruled in 1995 that congressional election districts drawn to ensure a black voting majority are unlawful.

The secretary of state's office has forwarded Ms. Johnson's challenge to the Office of State Administration Hearings, which will set the date, time and place for a hearing, said Lynn Bailey, Richmond County Board of Elections executive director.

The findings will be reported to the secretary of state by an administrative law judge, Ms. Bailey said.