Stokely turns down House seat for local appointment

Longtime Coweta County Solicitor Robert Stokely was successful in his July bid to represent east Coweta residents and a portion of those living in west Peachtree City as the Dist. 71 representative in the Georgia House. But that will not occur, as Stokely has opted to forego the position in favor of serving in the full-time capacity as a Coweta County Magistrate Judge. The special election will be held Feb. 5 with qualifying coming on Jan 7-9.

Stokely in a Dec. 14 statement said he had planned to serve D-71 citizens but had decided, instead, to fill the magistrate position.

“When I decided to run for state representative it was in good faith and with the intention of serving the citizens of District 71 to the best of my ability. In the last few weeks an opportunity to serve the citizens of Coweta County in a non-elected, full-time position presented itself,” Stokely said. ”It is a position for which I have significant experience and qualifications. It also is full-time and requires me to forego the honor of serving as a state representative. After several weeks of careful consideration I have determined that it is in the best interest of my family to accept an appointment as a full-time magistrate judge serving the citizens of Coweta County starting January 1. This position allows me to serve under the Honorable James C. Stripling, Chief Magistrate of Coweta County, a public servant and elected official whom I greatly respect. In addition I will have the opportunity to work with a very competent and hardworking staff in the magistrate’s office.”

Stokely said on Dec. 14 he notified Gov. Nathan Deal, Secretary of State Brian Kemp and Speaker of the Georgia House David Ralston that, by taking the appointment, it was necessary that he withdraw from taking the seat as the D-71 House representative. 

Kemp’s office on Thursday announced that the special election will be held on Feb. 5 and that qualifying will take place on Jan. 7-9.

Qualifying for the special election will be held in the Elections Division of the Office of Secretary of State, 802 West Tower, 2 Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive, SE, Atlanta. The dates and hours of qualifying will be Monday, Jan. 7 beginning at 9 a.m. and ending at 5 p.m.; on Tuesday, Jan. 8 beginning at 8 a.m. and ending at 5 p.m.; and Wednesday, Jan. 9 beginning at 8 a.m. and ending at 12 o’clock noon. The qualifying fee is $400.

“I appreciate the support I was given in my run for District 71 State House and having that opportunity to serve in that distinguished body and represent the citizens of District 71 in Atlanta,” Stokely said. ”However, I am very excited to have the opportunity to serve the citizens full-time locally in the Magistrate Court in the Coweta County Courthouse.

Stokely said District 70 Rep. Lynn Smith and District 72 Rep. Matt Ramsey, “have graciously agreed to cover constituent needs and be a point of contact for the citizens of Dist. 71 during the interim time while the District 71 Representative is being selected.”

Stokely said citizens wishing to speak with him about his decision can contact him at 678-416-1387 or by email at