State Sen.-elect Chuck Hufstetler, R-Rome, beat out two other Republicans in the July 31 primary to appear unopposed on the November general election ballot.
The battle was over the new District 52 seat, left vacant when redistricting shifted state Sen. Barry Loudermilk, R-Cassville, east to District 14. Hufstetler’s district covers all of Floyd and parts of Chattooga, Gordon and Bartow counties.
State Rep.-elect Eddie Lumsden, R-Rome, unseated Democrat Barbara Massey Reece in November. The district, also newly aligned, covers all of Chattooga and a greater portion of Floyd than in previous years.
Unopposed for re-election were state Reps. Katie Dempsey, R-Rome, and Christian Coomer, R-Cartersville. Dempsey, whose district covers the heart of Floyd County, has been in office since 2007. Coomer, starting his second two-year term, represents roughly half of Bartow and the southeastern part of Floyd.
Office and committee assignments are expected to be made by each chamber’s leadership in the coming week.
The session unofficially kicks off tonight with the 51st annual Wild Hog Supper, a $20-a-plate barbecue near the State Capitol where lawmakers and other elected officials mingle with lobbyists and corporate donors.
All four of Floyd’s delegates signed a pre-election pledge to support a $100-per-day cap on the amount a lobbyist can spend on each legislator. Hufstetler said he expects the Senate to take up the ethics issue almost immediately.
Georgia law requires lobbyist spending reports to be filed every two weeks while the Legislature is in session, and once a month otherwise. Reports covering December were filed last week.
Katherine Jane Bell of the Georgia Hospital Association reported buying Dempsey a $75.39 dinner during the 28th Biennial Institute for Georgia Legislators.
The event, held Dec. 9-11 in Athens, was co-sponsored by the General Assembly leadership and the University of Georgia’s Carl Vinson Institute of Government. “Nearly all” of the state’s veteran and newly elected lawmakers attended, according to a UGA press release.
Three lobbyists reported chipping in $9.51 each for Coomer’s meal at the Dec. 9 Biennial dinner. They were from the Georgia Press Association, the Georgia Association for Career and Technical Education and the public relations firm of Bates Associates.
No spending was reported on Hufstetler or Lumsden during the conference.
Four lobbyists from the University System of Georgia filed separate reports that they spent $8.96 for Dempsey’s dinner on Dec. 10. Totaled, the Board of Regents spent $35.84 for that meal.
Also on the December spending reports, George L. Bowen III of the Georgia Association of Manufacturers
listed pro-rated amounts of $100.58 each for a Dec. 12 dinner that included Dempsey and Hufstetler. Their spouses also attended.
Boyd Petit, with the lobbying firm GeorgiaLink Public Affairs Group, also reported giving $7.50 boxes of Christmas candy to Coomer and other local officials.
Of the local delegates, Coomer was the biggest recipient of lobbyist spending in 2012. Reports indicate he accepted a total of $1,972.65 worth of gifts — including $1,148.66 spent by the Georgia Industrial Loan Association to host him at its June convention in Daytona, Fla.
Dempsey accepted $335 in meals between May and December, bringing her 2012 total to $1,397.69.