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Democrat added to list of contenders for House seat
Lesli Messinger, a Savannah Democrat, says she is planning to make another run this year for Georgia's open 1st District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston, the Republican incumbent, is foregoing a re-election bid to seek the Republican nomination to succeed retiring U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga.

With six Republican candidates saying they will be in the party's primary for the nomination to succeed Kingston, Messinger is the only Democrat so far to say publicly that she plans to make a primary run.

Messinger won the Democratic nomination for the seat in 2012, but lost the general election to Kingston by a landslide, 63 percent to 37 percent.

William Claiborne, chairman of the Chatham County Democratic Committee, anticipates that other Democratic candidates will emerge between now and the qualifying period of March 3 to 7 to be on a primary ballot.

"There may be others, but it's hard to tell who's running until qualifying week," Claiborne said.

Recruiters at both the state and local levels usually assist in getting more candidates involved in races. Whether the person is a community leader or a local politician, they could make a good candidate to give the Democratic Party a voice in the race, Claiborne said.

Michael Smith, administrative director for the Georgia Democratic Party, says recruiters, especially at the local level, help spread the word about upcoming races.

"Our goal is to have a Democrat in every single race," Smith said. "We are bound and determined to make sure every voter has a choice."

Republicans who have said publicly they plan to enter the party's primary are state Rep. Jeff Chapman of Brunswick, John McCallum of St. Simons Island, Darwin Carter of Bacon County, state Sen. Buddy Carter of Pooler, David Schwarz of Savannah and Bob Johnson of Savannah.

Party primaries will be May 20.

* Reporter Martin Rand III covers local news. Contact him at, on Facebook or at 265-8320, ext. 324.

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