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Georgia House special election

Candidate Steve Cochran did not provide a picture of himself for this story

Six candidates qualified for a special election for an open state house seat in Northwest Georgia.

The election for the District 5 seat, which covers Gordon and Murray counties, will take place Jan. 8. The deadline to register to vote is Wednesday. Early voting begins Dec. 17.

The candidates are running to replace the late state Rep. John Meadows, R-Calhoun, who served 14 years in the legislature and died Nov. 13, a week after winning re-election. Meadows was the House Rules Committee chairman.

If no one receives more than 50 percent of the vote next month, the two top vote-getters will go to a runoff on Feb. 5. The candidates are:


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Matt Barton

» Matt Barton

Age: 46

Occupation: Owner of a courier business that specializes in healthcare.

Family: Wife, Lynne; children, Kathryn and Leslie

Political affiliation: Republican

Political experience: Calhoun City Schools Board of Education member; Calhoun City councilman; president of District 1, Georgia Municipal Association

What he thinks separates him: "I work to provide the needed services to the citizens in the most cost effective way. I have an established record of voting to reduce waste and improve operational efficiency. My record is there to see, no guessing on how I will vote."


» Steve Cochran

Age: 63

Occupation: Real estate investor, former owner of a moving company

Family: Wife, Tina; stepchildren, Derrick Forester, 30; LaSunba Mullinax, 37; and Brodie Pullen, 30

Political affiliation: Republican

Political experience: None

What he thinks separates him: "I want to make sure that there is a common-sense approach to the state budget. And I want to try to take care of the education. I would like to see education geared toward everybody."


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Larry Massey Jr.

» Larry Massey Jr.

Age: 52

Occupation: Self employed; former U.S. Marine Corps major, flew AV-8B Harrier jump jets and KC-130 Hercules transport aircraft

Family: Wife, Amy; children, Atherton, 13, and Aughton, 8

Political affiliation: Republican

Political experience: Current Gordon County Board of Education member, term expires this year. Appointed in 2017. Lost re-election this year in Republican primary, 1,510-1,333. Member of the Gordon County Republican Party.

What he thinks separates him: "I'm a lifelong Republican, a true conservative. My core values are God, family, country, community and hard work."


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Brian Rosser

» Brian Rosser

Age: 29

Occupation: Musician, music producer

Family: Fiancee, Savannah Britt

Political affiliation: Democrat

Political experience: Lost election against Meadows on Nov. 6, 12,914-2,919 for Democratic Party of Gordon County

What he thinks separates him: Advocates for Medicaid expansion in Georgia and ban on private funding of political campaigns. "My biggest problem in politics is the corrosive nature of corporate money."


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Scott Tidwell

» Scott Tidwell

Age: 46

Occupation: Life insurance salesman, senior pastor of Prayer Baptist Church in Chatsworth

Family: Wife, Charity; children Lindsey, 23; LeAnn, 22; A.J., 19; and Owen, 14

Political affiliation: Republican

Political experience: Lost Republican primary for state Senate District 53 seat, 5,014-4,471. Former central regional director for Georgia Republican Party's 14th Congressional District. Volunteered on George W. Bush presidential campaign, Brian Kemp's gubernatorial campaign

What he thinks separates him: "(Religious Freedom Restoration Act), I'm passionate about that. Under Kemp, we have a great chance of that being passed."


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Jesse Vaughn

» Jesse Vaughn

Age: 45

Occupation: Attorney

Family: Wife, Christy; children Sarah Beth, 16; Hudson, 7

Political affiliation: Republican

Political experience: Precinct captain and parliamentarian for Gordon County Republican Party

What he thinks separates him: "The real thing coming out of the Georgia General Assembly that this district needs is less taxes and more job creation."

Contact staff writer Tyler Jett at 423-757-6476 or Follow him on Twitter @LetsJett.