Democrat Josh McLaurin is joining the race to replace retiring state Rep. Wendell Willard in Sandy Springs’ House District 51 seat in next year’s election. He joins another previously announced candidate, Republican Alex Kaufman.

Josh McLaurin. (Special)

McLaurin, a Sandy Springs attorney, earlier this year announced a run for Congress, but did not follow through. He filed for the state House race on Nov. 16.

McLaurin was in the news in 2014 for a successful legal battle expanding the right to film court proceedings, as the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and others reported. Earlier this year, he was living in Roswell, but his House filing shows he is now living in a Sandy Springs apartment complex.

Alex Kaufman. (Special)

Kaufman announced his run almost a year-and-a-half ago, shortly after Willard – a Sandy Springs Republican — gave unusually long notice that he would not run for re-election in 2018. A Roswell resident, he is a business lawyer who works at Kaufman & Forman in Sandy Springs and was born and raised in the city.

Sandy Springs City Councilmember Gabriel Sterling previously announced a run for the seat as well, but later decided to pursue the Fulton County chair seat in an unsuccessful campaign. Sterling said he will not rejoin the state House race.

Kaufman attended Sterling’s Election Night party Nov. 7 in Sandy Springs and said he has been speaking with Willard as preparation for the campaign.

House District 51 includes Sandy Springs’ panhandle area and parts of Johns Creek and Roswell.