State Rep. Michael Caldwell, R-Woodstock said late Thursday that he is staying in the race for State Senate District 21. Incumbent Sen. Brandon Beach abandoned his run for Congress Thursday to seek re-election, setting up a primary showdown with Caldwell.

Caldwell said he had a short heads up that the incumbent District 21 senator would be entering the race.

"He gave me call at 3:10 p.m. just before his 3:15 p.m. news release," Caldwell said.

Caldwell announced his bid for the state Senate early this year when Beach announced his intention to run for Congress in the Sixth District, challenging incumbent Democrat Lucy McBath.

Despite Beach's entry into the race, Caldwell said there is still good reason for voters to choose him when the Republican primary is held next year.

"I believe I have a positive track record and that we need leadership and a voice from Cherokee County in the state Senate, especially with redistricting coming up next year," Caldwell said. "I have a strong relationship with Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan and I look forward working closely with him in the state Senate."

Caldwell said he has been a backer of business growth, and policies that help small business - citing the decision of Woodstock to waive business license fees for small businesses in their first year. "I've been a supporter of policies like that and we need to spread them across the state. And, the state Senate is a good place to help make that happen," he said.

Caldwell is serving his fourth two-year term in the state House.

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