Folks Gearing Up For House District 2 Special Election — UPDATED

Within a few minutes of Representative Jay Neal being appointed to a position within the Georgia Department of Corrections, the speculation started on who would jump in to replace him.  Charlie floated names like outgoing LaFayette Mayor Neal Florence and former Chickamauga City Councilman Steve Tarvin (who ran in 2009/2010 for Nathan Deal’s vacated congressional seat and in 2012 for HD2 against then-incumbent Jay Neal).

Doug Woodruff, Catoosa County Republican Party chairman, has also jumped into the fray when he announced on Facebook this past Monday.  There is also rumor that Eddie Upshaw of Walker County will also jump into the race as a Democrat.  Steve Tarvin hasn’t “officially” announced, but is certainly making noise on Facebook about his possible/eventual run for the vacant seat.  My understanding is that he’ll wait until the date of the special election is announced.

So, this morning Mayor Florence has made it official (his full press release is below the fold):

::UPDATED:: I have included Doug Woodruff’s presser below the fold as well.

Former Mayor of LaFayette, Neal Florence Announces for State House
Will Continue Rep. Jay Neal’s Legacy of Responsible Leadership

LaFayette, GA., November 6, 2013 – Mayor Neal Florence has served as Mayor of LaFayette for 23 years and today announced that he will be seeking the open seat in the Georgia House of Representatives. House District 2 includes portions of Walker and Catoosa, along with a handful of precincts in Whitfield County. The seat is vacant due to the recent appointment of Representative Jay Neal by Governor Nathan Deal as Executive Director of the state’s Office of Transition, Support and Re-entry.

“I had no plans to seek office following my retirement from the Mayor’s office” said Neal. “I’ve served this community for over two decades as Mayor and for over three decades as their pharmacist. I firmly believe we need a State Representative focused on serving the people and the community – someone who puts the people above their own interests. I’m not a career politician looking for my next political title, and I’ll put my record as a public servant and a successful small business owner up against anyone looking to run for this seat.”

While the date for the special election has yet to be set by the Governor, Neal Florence is hitting the ground running and looks forward to rolling out his plans to work to create jobs, improve government efficiency and better the local community.

H. Neal Florence was born in Cedartown, Georgia in 1951. He graduated from The McCallie School in Chattanooga, TN in 1969. In 1973 Neal earned a B.S. degree in Chemistry and in 1976 a B.S degree in Pharmacy from the University of Georgia. He worked for Rhyne Brothers Pharmacy from 1976 till 1979 when he purchased Regal Pharmacy and started Medi Thrift Pharmacy which he operates with his wife, Carolyn, who is also a Pharmacist. The Florence’s have two sons, Dr. Mason Florence and Dr. Kevin Florence. Mason and his wife, Rachel M, have two children, Samuel and Caroline and Kevin and wife, Rachel H, have one son, Luke. They all reside in Athens, GA.

Professional Affiliations

Member GPhA: AIP and past Chairman of Governmental Affairs Committee
Past President of 7th District 1997-99
Member of N.W. Georgia Pharmacy Association
Member of National Association of Community Pharmacy

Civic and Community

Mayor of LaFayette since 1990
Member of Walker County Board of Health 2002 until now
Member of Walker County Development Authority
Bank of LaFayette Board of Directors since 2003
Past President of LaFayette Housing Authority until ecame Mayor in 1990.
Past President LaFayette Kiwanis Club 1987-1988
Past member of Northwest Georgia Technical College Board of Directors
Member LaFayette First Baptist Church
Deacon since 1996
Past member of Trustees
Past member of Finance Committee


In June 2004 Neal received the Bowl of Hygeia Award. This award is given to one Pharmacist in each state each year recognizing them for outstanding community serves and nominated by their state Pharmacy association. This is the most distinguished award a Pharmacist can receive from their fellow Pharmacists.

Here is Doug Woodruff’s presser:

Republican Doug Woodruff Launches Campaign for State House, District 2
ROCK SPRING, GA – Republican Doug Woodruff’s campaign for election as State Representative in Georgia’s House District 2 officially launched this week. House District 2 includes key portions of Catoosa, Walker and Whitfield Counties. Woodruff enters the race with a long standing commitment to serving his community and its citizens.

“I have a unique insight into the challenges which face each of us on a daily basis. This is so because as a local attorney I represent the little guy and not big business,” said Woodruff, who continued: “I look forward to this wonderful opportunity to make new friends and renew old friendships in District 2 while continuing my service to the local community in a new role as a Representative for the people.”

Doug Woodruff, a long time conservative Republican, grew up in Center Grove near Rock Spring. He and his wife of 21 years, Terri (Waters) Woodruff, live in the Peavine/Burning Bush area. Terri is a masters prepared Pediatric Nurse Practitioner and leads the team of medical professionals in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Hamilton Medical Center in Dalton. Doug and Terri are members of the Rock Spring United Methodist Church where he has been the church pianist for most of the last 28 years. Doug, who has long been active in the leadership of his church, has chaired the Board of Trustees on multiple occasions and will assume the role of Chairman of the Finance Committee this coming January.

Woodruff’s vast array of experience makes him the ideal candidate for those he represents. “I am a patient and caring listener, a thoughtful decision maker and a zealous advocate. I look forward to the opportunity to employ these skills on behalf of the citizens of District 2,” said Woodruff.

Woodruff’s career as a public servant extends back to the 1980s when he served as a volunteer fire fighter while he was in school. He continued his long standing commitment to public safety work by joining the Walker County Sheriff’s Department in 1990, first as a dispatcher and later as a deputy sheriff. In 1993 Woodruff moved to Athens, Georgia to attend the University of Georgia Law School, graduating in 1996. After admission to the State Bar of Georgia Woodruff began his practice of law in Lafayette, later joining the District Attorney’s Office as an Assistant District Attorney. Woodruff’s service in law enforcement and as an attorney has deepened his commitment to protect the interests and rights of the individual citizens of our community.

Doug received a Bachelors Degree from Southern Adventist University, a Master’s Degree from the Academy of Music in Vienna, Austria, and his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Georgia School of Law. In 2011 Doug’s peers elected him to the Board of Governors of the State Bar of Georgia, reelected him in 2013 and he continues to serve on that governing body.

I speculate that a writ of election will be issued by Governor Nathan Deal after Representative Neal’s resignation goes into effect…which I would speculate would be November 15th since that is when the appointment is effective. It’s a tricky time since we have Thanksgiving the last week of November and Christmas less than a month after that.  We might even see an election that goes into 2014, and the newly-minted Representative from the 2nd District may even miss that first month and possibly most of the 2nd month of the 2014 session depending on how things play out.


  1. James Touchton says:

    Eddie Upshaw is a good friend of the family and a great guy all around. He has served in Lions Clubw with my Grandfather for years in Walker County.

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