Republican  Rep. Jim Cole, a three-term lawmaker from Forsyth in Middle Georgia, will be  picked by Gov. Sonny Perdue to be the next Secretary of State, sources tell the AJC.

Cole, Perdue’s House floor leader,  will replace Karen Handel, who announced last week she would resign to concentrate full time on her race for governor. Perdue’s office is expected to make the announcement Monday.

Cole, 38,  will serve out the final year of Handel’s term. He will also run in 2010 for a full, four-year term.

Cole has been on Perdue’s House team for three years, carrying and pushing the governor’s legislation.

AJC