Late Henry Howard's wife, son run against each other for Georgia House seat

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It's not something you hear about too often: two family members running for the same political office.

But that's the case as two members of the Howard family are vying for the District 121 seat in the Georgia House of Representatives.

News 12's Jonathan Martin explains why both say they feel the need to run.

When Henry Howard died last October, his House seat was left vacant until his wife Earnestine ran unopposed and won the seat. But in November, as she seeks to continue her late husband's legacy, Earnestine will have some competition.

And it's all in the family.

In November, "Wayne" Howard, son of the late Henry Howard, will go head to head with his stepmother, Earnestine Howard, for his father's former seat.

In a press conference Friday, April 7, he said, "After talking with my family and close friends, I, Henry Wayne Howard, am announcing my candidacy for the State House District 121."

"My father served the people of District 121 for 14 years. He did not serve for personal gain or interest. He served because he cared about people."

Both tell us there is no family feud...but they each want to be the one to continue the Howard legacy in District 121.

Mrs. Howard tells us, "He has been talking about running for awhile. He has the right to run, but it is also my right and this is a decision that the people will make."

She added, "I have decided to run because the people have spoken and I have been encouraged by leaders and people in the community."

But people like Jerald Smith who are close with both Howards say it puts them in a pretty uneasy place.

"I just hate that both are running against each other," says Smith, who is Earnestine Howard's godson. "They just need to come upon something and agree with something."

"It's going to be hard to vote for one or the other...and you don't want to hurt the other one's feelings," says Eugene Dunbar, a family friend of the Howards. "So personally, I think they need to get together and see which one will be the best candidate."

So who is the best candidate?

"I don't want to be the one to say which one should run," Dunbar said.

"Who, that's kind of hard to say," said Smith.

As of now, no one else has announced plans to run for the seat.

There was talk that Commissioner Marion Williams would run. We spoke with him Friday, April 14, and he said he was considering it, but has changed his mind.

The deadline for qualifying is April 28.