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Hudgens will run for Norwood's seat

Barrow County can expect a special election this year to find a new senator.

Ralph Hudgens, the Comer Republican who represents the 47th Senate District, said Wednesday he would resign to run for the congressional seat left vacant by the death of Charlie Norwood.

Norwood, 65, died Tuesday after a battle with cancer and lung disease.

A special election has not been set.

"I want to continue the same tradition Charlie Norwood started," Hudgens said. "I feel comfortable with every vote he cast."

Hudgens ran against Norwood in 1994, which was when the Augusta man was first elected to Congress. Hudgens was ahead after the primary, but lost by 542 votes in the runoff.

He recently began his 11th year in the General Assembly and his fifth in the state Senate.

Judges, Tucker

greet legislators

Gwinnettians hoping to see a train from Athens to Atlanta weren't the only ones lobbying at the General Assembly Wednesday.

Superior Court judges Dawson Jackson, Timothy Hamil and Debra Turner spent the morning trying to convince senators and representatives of the need for a 10th judge and raises for the bench.

The Gwinnett circuit is ranked the No. 1 priority for a new judge by the Judicial Council of Georgia.

"The population is driving the court system," Jackson said of Gwinnett, which takes in 25,000 new residents a year. "We need the judgeship. We don't mind asking because we think it's justified."

Also at the Capitol Wednesday was Richard Tucker, the former Chamber of Commerce president who sits on the Board of Regents.

"We have no particular mission or agenda," Tucker said of the visit to both chambers by the regents. "We're just renewing friendships and answering any questions."

The Legislature must vote on the regents' proposed budget, which includes $28 million to build a library at the new Georgia Gwinnett University and $10 million to hire staff for the college, which will open to its first freshman class this fall.

While he didn't want to confuse legislators by talking about two issues, Tucker said he is in support of the Brain Train effort.

"We certainly need alternative transportation modes," he said. "I'd like to see it happen."

Camie Young can be reached via e-mail at camie.young@gwinnettdailypost.com.