The ballot for the 2020 Primary and General Election will begin to take shape today with the official opening of filing. ConnectLocal.News provides a rundown of what federal, state and local seats are up for election this season.
Today, March 2, is the first day any candidate for local, state and federal seats can file the necessary paperwork to have their name included on the 2020 election ballot. Filing for the 2020 election will end at noon on Friday, March 6. Any candidate who has not filed by the March 6 deadline will not be able to have their name printed on either the May 19 General Primary or the Nov. 3 General Election ballots.
Candidates who have not filed by the deadline will still be able to file the necessary documents in order to be a write-in candidate in the primary or general elections. In Georgia, any ballot cast for a written-in candidate that has not met state qualifications and requirements for write-in candidates will not be counted. Deadlines and the process for filing as a write-in candidate are available from the Stephens County Registrar’s office (706) 886-8954, or from the Georgia Secretary of State’s Election Division, (404) 656-2871 or toll free at (844) 753-7825.
While the Presidential election will receive top billing on the 2020 ballots, there are many other federal, state and local offices that are up for election this year.
According to Stephens County Registrar Eureka Grober, the following offices are the only local items that will be on the 2020 ballot.
Stephens County Sheriff
Stephens County Coroner
Stephens County Tax Commissioner
Stephens County Clerk of Superior Court
Stephens County Probate Judge
Stephens County Magistrate Judge
State Court Solicitor General for Stephens County
Stephens County State Court Judge
Two seats on the Stephens County Board of Commissioners:
Post 2 – Currently held by Debbie Whitlock
Post 3 – Currently held by Dennis Bell
Four seats on the Stephens County Board of Education
Seat currently held by Bill Wheeler
Seat currently held by Wendy Dawkins
Seat currently held by Mark Smith
Seat currently held by Len Stovall
The Georgia State Senate District 50 seat will be up for election this year, with the Primary held on May 19 and the General Election on Nov. 3. Members of the Georgia State Senate are elected to two-years terms. There are no term limits for this office. The current salary for a Georgia State Senator is $17,342 per year, with a $173 per diem. The 50th District seat is currently held by Sen. John Wilkinson (R). Wilkinson has announced that he will not run for re-election to the 50th District seat in 2020, and is, instead, running for the 9th Congressional District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.
The Georgia State House District 28 seat will be up for election this year, with the Primary held on May 19 and the General Election on Nov. 3. Members of the Georgia State House of Representatives are elected to two-years terms. There are no term limits for this office. The current salary for a Georgia State Representative is $17,342 per year, with a $173 per diem. The 28th District seat is currently held by Rep. Chris Erwin(R).
Three of the nine Georgia Supreme Court Justice seats are up for election this year. The non-partisan election will be held on May 19. Georgia Supreme Court Justices are elected to six-year terms. However, when an interim vacancy occurs through retirement, resignation or other mid-term vacancy, the governor is tasked with appointing a replacement from a list of nominees from the Judicial Nominating Commission. Currently, only one seated Justice was elected, the remainder have been appointed by governors Sonny Perdue, Nathan Deal or Joe Frank Harris. The Supreme Court Justice seats up for election in 2020 are currently held by Charlie Bethel, Kieth Blackwell and Sarah Warren. The seat held by Justice Robert Benham was also scheduled to be up for election this year, but his retirement, effective yesterday, March 1, allows for Gov. Brian Kemp to appoint a successor, who won’t need to run for election until 2022.
The seats of seven Justices on theGeorgia Court of Appeals will be up for election this year. The non-partisan election will be held on May 19. Georgia Court of Appeals The Georgia Court of Appeal’s 15 Justices are elected to six-year terms. The seats up for election in 2020 are currently held by E. Trenton Brown III, Christian Coomer, Sara Doyle, Elizabeth Gobeil, Stephen S. Goss, David Markle and Carla W. McMillian.
Two of the five seats on Georgia’s Public Service Commission are up for election in 2020. Commissioners are elected to six-year terms in staggered years. Each of the five commissioners resides in one of five districts. District 1 and District 4 seats are up for election this year. Stephens County is in District 4. Although each commissioner must be a resident of the district he or she represents for 12 months prior to election, commissioners are chosen in statewide elections, not just by the citizens of their district. The Georgia Public Service Commission is responsible for regulating most of Georgia’s public utilities, including electric, gas, telecommunication and transportation firms. The Commission does not regulate water/sewer or gas providers.
There will be two U.S. Senate seats on the ballot in 2020. U.S. Senators are elected to six-year terms, with elections every two years for approximately 1/3 of the sitting senators. The U.S. Senate is divided into three classes, containing 33 or 34 seats each. The 2020 elections will put the seats of the Class II senators up for election, as their terms expire in 2021. Class III seats will be up for election in 2022, as their seats expire in 2023, and Class I seats will be up for election in 2024, as their terms expire in 2025.
The Class II Senate seat currently held by David Perdue (R) is up for it’s regularly-scheduled election. Perdue was first elected in 2014.
In addition to the regularly scheduled Senate seat, the 2020 election will include a special election to replace the Class III Senate seat that was held by Johnny Isakson (R), who was elected in 2016 and resigned at the end of 2019. Kelly Loeffler (R), currently holds the seat as Gov. Brian Kemp’s appointee and will serve until the special election winner takes office in January 2021. The special election winner will serve until the 2022 general election winner takes office in January 2023. Several candidates, including Loeffler and Rep. Doug Collins have announced their intention to run for the seat that has seen inner-party Republican conflict, as Loeffler was tapped for the temporary appointment by Kemp despite President Donald Trump’s support of Collins for the appointment. ConnectLocal.News will provide more information on this race in our upcoming series of candidate introductions and forums.
U.S. House of Representatives
All U.S. Representatives are elected to two-year terms, and all U.S. Congressional Districts, including the 9th Congressional District of Georgia, will be holding elections this year. The 9th District includes Banks, Dawson, Elbert, Fannin, Franklin, Gilmer, Habersham, Hall, Hart, Jackson, Lumpkin, Madison, Rabun, Stephens, Towns, Union, and White counties in their entirety, and includes parts of Clarke, Forsyth, and Pickens counties. Rep. Doug Collins (R), has held the 9th District seat since 2012. Collins will not be running for re-election to the 9th District House seat, as he has announced his candidacy for one of Georgia’s two U.S. Senate seats.
ConnectLocal.News will publish a full list of candidates for each office after the filing deadline has passed at noon on Friday, March 6.
Data Sources: Stephens County Registrar’s Office, Georgia Secretary of State, Elections Division, Vote411, Ballotpedia, and Georgia.gov.