The political whirlwinds about who will run for governor next year could have an impact on who represents one of Gwinnett County’s seats in the General Assembly.
State Rep. Buzz Brockway, R-Lawrenceville, is planning to run next year for what is expected to be an open Secretary of State’s seat. He’s an early entrant in a race that is expected to be wide open after reports surfaced this week that current Secretary of State Brian Kemp plans to run for the open governor’s seat next year.
“It’s something that I’ve been thinking about for a long time,” Brockway said. “It’s the things that it’s involved in, especially professional licensing and the elections law, (which are) things that I’ve always been interested in. I’m kind of a policy geek in that stuff appeals to me.”
Here’s where it gets tricky though. These plans are all based on “ifs,” even if they are “ifs” that political insiders expect to become reality.
Brockway said he will only go through with his plans to run for secretary of state if Kemp does indeed opt to run for governor instead of seeking re-election to his current post. If Kemp decides instead to run for his current office again, however, Brockway said he will abandon his own pursuit of the seat.
“I would not run against him, so if he changes his mind, I’m out,” Brockway said.
Assuming current expectations for Kemp play out though, Brockway is already planning for a campaign that would highlight cyber security. That has been a big topic of discussion, both nationally with allegations of Russian hacking in last year’s presidential election, and locally with reports that federal officials allegedly tried to hack Georgia’s election systems.
Brockway, a Georgia Tech graduate, has himself been a supporter and fan of technology over the years, even getting appointed to the Georgia Republican Party’s Technology Committee a decade ago.
“Cyber security is a huge issue for a number of fields and it certainly is in elections,” he said. “I think there are some things we can do to make the data less appealing to hackers and I’ll be talking about that as the race moves on.”
The legislator’s plans were hot buzz at the state Capitol on Tuesday. During an informal meeting between county and city leaders with the Gwinnett Legislative Delegation, his fellow legislators kept coming up to him to offer congratulations with several of them calling him “Secretary Brockway.”
Even on the House floor earlier in the day, there was some good-natured jokes made about it.
“The chair recognizes for a morning order secretary, I mean Rep. Brockway,” Speaker of the House David Ralston said as he welcomed the Lawrenceville legislator to the podium to recognize Pi Day.
“Thank you Mr. Speaker, can I — can I count that as an endorsement,” Brockway joked in return.
Brockway is a former chairman of the Gwinnett Republican Party and has served in the House of Representatives since 2011. Among his multiple committee assignments over the years, he has been a long-time member of the House Governmental Affairs committee, where he dealt with, among other things, the state’s election law.
He said he will serve the remainder of his two-year legislative term, which continues through next year.
“If I win, I’d be sworn in at the same time as the legislators when the new legislative term begins, so since they don’t overlap, I don’t have to resign,” Brockway said.
With Brockway planning to run for Secretary of State, it opens up the question of who might run for his seat in the House of Representatives though. There is more than a year to go before the state’s primary elections so there is plenty of time for residents of the district to throw their names in the ring.
“I’ve gotten word from a couple of folks who are thinking about it, but I don’t want to divulge any names because I don’t think anybody is ready to take that step (and announce anything yet),” Brockway said.