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Leesburg council member resigns

LEESBURG, Ga. -- For area political enthusiasts who love election time, there will be a little more to love this year.

Leesburg City Councilman Steve Kitchens sent a letter to City Clerk Casey Moore Thursday resigning his position on the seven-member Council.

Kitchens said "personal issues" had dictated that he move out of the Leesburg city limits, making him ineligible to maintain his seat on the Council.

"Steve will be missed," Leesburg Mayor Jim Quinn said Friday. "He's been a great City Council member. I believe he really loves Leesburg."

Moore said the Council would most likely call for a special election to replace Kitchens at its monthly meeting Tuesday. Quinn agreed, saying the vacancy on the Council will not officially exist until addressed by that body.

"We'll read Steve's letter of resignation at Tuesday night's meeting and then call for a special election," he said. "Once we've done that, we'll go through the proper procedures to determine when that election will be held."

Lee Elections Supervisor Veronica Johnson said Friday the special election to replace Kitchens, who was serving as the city's mayor pro tem at the time of his resignation, would most likely be held Sept. 21.

"The city has to first call for the election, and then we'll select the next available date to hold it," she said. "Most likely, qualifying will be held at the same time as nonpartisan qualifying (June 28-July 2), and the election will be held Sept. 21. Of course, the city will make the final decision."

Speculation has already begun as to a replacement for Kitchens. One name that surfaced Friday was Libertarian Jeff Sexton, who ran unsuccessfully for a seat on the City Council in November of last year. He was beaten by Richard Bush.

"I just heard that Mr. Kitchens had resigned, so this is something that I'm just starting to think about," Sexton said. "It's definitely something I'm interested in. I told my wife that I intended to run again during the 2011 election cycle, so I don't think it's something she'd object to.

"I'm going to look into this further and discuss it with her. Then I'll make a decision."