David Bell, a lawyer and former candidate for Congress, announced Thursday his plans to run for a seat in the state House of Representatives.
His campaign announcement marks the second in two days from an Augusta Democrat and comes just one week after state Rep. Jack Connell, D-115, said he would not seek re-election this year.
Mr. Bell said he plans to champion support for area schools, a state cancer center and increased communication between Augusta and Atlanta.
"All areas of the community must be brought into the equation to make Augusta work," he told about 40 supporters at the Augusta-Richmond County Municipal Building.
Robert W. "Bo" Hunter III, also a local lawyer, announced his candidacy for the District 96 state House seat Wednesday afternoon.
"We think both candidates are very good representatives of the Democratic party," said Lowell Greenbaum, the chairman of the Richmond County Democratic Party. He attended Mr. Bell's campaign announcement.
"We think either one can beat the Republican wannabe," Mr. Greenbaum said.
The winning Democrat will face Republican candidate and current District 114 House Rep. Sue Burmeister. Her seat was eliminated during redistricting this year, and District 96 was created.
Mr. Bell, who helped Mr. Connell during the last legislative session to draft several bills regarding city government structure, said he supports a reorganization of local government. He said he believes better communication will be needed to pass a bill.
"They did a lot of grandstanding," Mr. Bell said. "Many of the representatives had some bills, but nobody worked with each other. There was no dialogue."
Although he has only two announced challengers, he said he plans to focus on beating his Democratic counterpart, Mr. Hunter, and winning the primary before he looks toward November elections.
"You can't look past the first," he said. "The main competition is your first competition."
House District 96 candidate
Family: Wife, Suzie; four children: Amanda, 21; David Jr., 18; Peyton, 15; Jordan, 14
Education: Law degree from the University of Georgia; undergraduate degree from The Citadel
Previous political experience: Ran unsuccessfully against Charlie Norwood for Congress in 1996.
On restructuring city government: "Our city government is going to be no better than the elected officials that are put in front of us. I am open to change in our government and I'm open to progress, but before we do that, we have to have open communication at the local level."
Reach Heidi Coryell Williams at (706) 823-3215 or firstname.lastname@example.org.