Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue on Thursday called for a June 19 special election to fill the House seat left vacant by the death of U.S. Rep. Charles Norwood.

That will give the growing field of candidates nearly 120 days to campaign and allow a pair of state senators seeking the seat to continue serving for the rest of the current legislative session.

A battle is shaping up to represent district in northeastern Georgia, with four candidates already lined up to run.

If a runoff is needed, it will be held July 17, four weeks after the special election.

Norwood, a seven-term congressman, died last week after a battle with lung disease and cancer. He was 65.

State Sens. Ralph Hudgens, a businessman from Hull near Athens, and Jim Whitehead a former chairman of the Columbia County Commission from the Augusta suburb of Evans, have said they will run to replace him. Both are Republicans.

Paul Broun, a doctor, announced this week that he would run as well as a Republican. Broun is the son of the late Sen. Paul Broun, who represented the Athens area in the state Senate as a Democrat for 38 years.

Doc Eldridge, a former Democratic mayor of Athens, has said he may also enter the race as a GOP candidate.

On the Democratic side, Terry Holley, who pulled in just 32 percent of the vote against Norwood last November, said he plans to run again.

Holley acknowledged on Thursday that the district favors Republicans.

"But Congress is controlled by Democrats now," he said.

Holley said he would stress to voters that he would be able to better represent them since he would be in the majority party on Capitol Hill.

There are no primaries leading up to the special election, which means that multiple members of the same party may face off against each other. If no one receives more than 50 percent of the vote, there will be a runoff between the top two vote getters..

The race for Norwood's seat will create other vacancies, notably for the state Senate seats held by Hudgens and Whitehead.

"Since qualification for this election will likely create vacancies in other elected offices. I am hopeful that all of those seats could be filled on one election day," Perdue said.

June 19 is the next special election date set forth in Georgia law that would also allow for countywide and municipal elections on the same day.