2 Cairo residents qualify for state Senate seat

Dec. 31—MOULTRIE, Ga. — The race to fill the seat of state Sen. Dean Burke got interesting over the three-day qualifying period with three candidates from three different parties throwing their hats into the ring.

Gov. Brian Kemp announced Burke's resignation Dec. 22 when he announced that Burke would become the chief medical officer of the state's Department of Community Health. Burke, a Bainbridge physician, has represented Senate District 11 since 2013.

One day later, on Dec. 23, state Rep. Sam Watson of Moultrie announced he would resign to run for Burke's seat. Watson, a Colquitt County farmer, has represented House District 172 since 2012.

Both House District 172 and Senate District 11 will be filled by a special election to be held Jan. 31.

Only one candidate — Colquitt County Administrator Charles "Chas" Cannon — qualified for the House seat, according to the Georgia Secretary of State's website.

Watson, a Republican, qualified for the Senate seat on Wednesday.

On Thursday, Mary Weaver-Anderson, a Democrat, qualified, and on Friday, John H. Monds, a Libertarian, did so, the Secretary of State's website said. Both of them are from Cairo.

Under election rules, all three candidates will face off in the special election. There is no party primary and general election as there would be in a normal election cycle.

Weaver-Anderson identifies herself as a small business owner and educator on the Secretary of State's site, but she has not provided The Moultrie Observer with a biography as other candidates have. The Observer's sister newspaper, The Thomasville Times-Enterprise, has scheduled an interview with her for next week.

The Libertarian Party of Georgia, however, announced Monds' candidacy with a press release Friday afternoon.

Monds made history in the 2008 Georgia Public Service Commissioner race when he became the first Libertarian candidate to receive over 1 million votes in Georgia, the release said. He made history again in 2010 when he became the first African-American candidate to appear on the general election ballot for governor in Georgia.

"Most recently, in 2020, Monds sought the Libertarian nomination for president, where the story of his family's fight for freedom resonated with delegates at state conventions across the nation," the Libertarian Party's press release said. Libertarians nominated Jo Jorgensen instead, and she received about 1.2% of the votes across the nation.

Monds has been married to Dr. Kathaleena Monds for 23 years. They have four children, Akintunde, Cazembe, Halima, and Malik. Monds earned a degree in Business Administration from Morehouse College with a concentration in Banking and Finance. He has homeschooled his children for the past 20 years, the release said, and two of his students have received their college degrees. Monds has been active in his community through various organizations, including Habitat for Humanity, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc, and the NAACP. He enjoys classic Volkswagens, gardening, and genealogy.

Monds has been an active member of the Libertarian party for 17 years.

"I am running for Senate because we can never become complacent in the fight for individual liberty," Monds said.

He said he was inspired to run by his great-great-grandparents, Columbus and Morning Ferguson, who were slaves on the Ferguson farm in Talbot County. Monds said, "I am running to honor them and all the other freedom fighters."

"I am running because the voters always deserve more choices on the ballot," Monds said. "We need elected officials who will rein in big-government intrusion into the lives of Georgians."