The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
10:14 a.m.: It appears the gremlins in the Secretary of State’s system have been vanquished and candidates are now qualifying via 21st century methods. The lines in both chambers are moving more quickly. Still now word on a few of the major story lines we’re watching, including whether former state Rep. Clay Cox, R-Lilburn, qualifies to run against Senate Rules Committee Chairman Don Balfour, R-Snellville.
Cox has been a rumored candidate for the 9th District and Tea Party Patriots organizer Debbie Dooley told the AJC on Tuesday that if Cox doesn’t challenge Balfour, she will.
9:41 a.m. Under the heading of striking-while-it’s-hot, a collection of government watchdog groups will hold a news conference at 10:45 here at the Capitol to announce their plan to challenge every candidate who qualifies for the General Assembly to sign a pledge promising to support a $100 cap on lobbyist gifts to lawmakers.
Common Cause Geoergia, the Georgia Tea Party Patriots and Georgia Conservatives in Action, will announce their plans in about an hour. The topic has gained momentum in the past week after Georgia Republicans, at their annual convention this past weekend, agreed to put the matter before voters in the July 31 primary.
The referendum, while non-binding, promises to become an issue in Republican primaries.
9:34 a.m.: As everyone waits for the Secretary of State’s website to come back up, party officials have begun to qualify candidates the old fashioned way — with pen and paper.
A spokesman for Brian Kemp, the secretary of state, wasn’t immediately available to say when the site will be back up, but, meanwhile, the line is moving.
Among those already qualifying on the Republican side: incumbent U.S. Rep. Tom Graves, R-Ranger, running for re-election in the new 14th District. Martha Zoller qualified to run in the new 9th congressional district where her likely opponent. On the Democratic side, where candidates are qualifying in the Senate chambers, a pair of incumbent congressmen were first up: U.S. Rep. David Scott signed up to run again in the 13th district and right behind him was U.S. Rep. John Lewis of the 5th.
9:21 a.m.: Well, we take that back. Qualifying hasn’t officially begun because apparently the Secretary of State’s website is down and not accepting the online registration. Everyone is just sort of milling around.
Original post: There are lines out the door of the Georgia House and Senate as lawmakers, judges, prosecutors and regulators — as well as those who hope to be — officially register for the 2012 elections.
We will bring you updates throughout the day, as well as Thursday and Friday — right up until the process closes at noon Friday. For a full list of those who qualify, check out the Secretary of State’s website: http://qual.sos.state.ga.us/qualifyingindex.asp. Secretary of State Brian Kemp has promised live, as-they-happen, updates.
First in line on the Republican side, who are qualifying in the House chamber, is Speaker David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge, who just might have used his prerogative as leader of the chamber to go first. Not that anyone was going to complain. Right behind him were Sen. Judson Hill, R-Marietta, and Rep. Steve Davis, R-McDonough.
For details on what today means for all involved, check out the AJC’s story from this morning: http://www.ajc.com/news/tea-party-power-to-1444207.html