Gov. Sonny Perdue on Thursday called for a June 19 special election to fill the House seat left vacant by the death of GOP Rep. Charles Norwood.
The date gives the growing field of candidates almost four months to campaign and allows a pair of state senators seeking the seat to complete the current legislative session.
Three Republicans have said they will run to represent the northeastern Georgia district: State Sens. Ralph Hudgens and Jim Whitehead, and Paul Broun, a doctor whose father was a longtime Democratic state senator. Doc Eldridge, a former Democratic mayor of Athens, has said he may also run as a Republican.
Democrat Terry Holley, who was soundly defeated by Norwood last November, also said he plans to run.
There are no primaries before the special election. If no one receives more than 50 percent of the vote, a runoff between the top two vote-getters would be held July 17.
Norwood, a seven-term congressman, died last week after suffering from lung disease and cancer. He was 65.