The contest between Shirley and Fulbright for Sheriff is the only contested race locally, but several state and federal races are shaping up to be contentious battles. ConnectLocal.News provides a complete rundown of local, state and federal offices that will be on the 2020 ballot for Stephens County voters.
With the end of the official qualifying period for the 2020 General Primary/Elections ending at noon today, Friday, March 6, local offices up for election will be, for the most part, uncontested. The office of Stephens County Sheriff – where former Stephens County investigator Rusty Fulbright will face incumbent Randy Shirley - remains the sole local office for which anyone but the incumbent filed for candidacy.
Qualifying – the official and mandatory step in the Georgia elections process where candidates file the necessary paperwork in order to have their names listed on the printed ballot for the Primary and General Elections and pay the required qualifying fee - ended today at noon. Qualifying began at 8 a.m. on Monday, March 2.
Republican candidates for local offices qualified with the Stephens County GOP, which then provided the Stephens County REgistrar’s Office with the required forms for each candidate. Under local and state legislation, local political parties are given the choice to conduct qualifying for party candidates. Candidates belonging to a political party whose local chapter decides not to conduct qualifying, as well as independent candidates and candidates for non-partisan offices, file and pay their qualifying fees at the Registrar’s office. Qualifying fees collected by a political party that chooses to conduct qualifying, is divided evenly between the political party and the registrar’s office.
The local Democratic Party did not conduct qualifying for the 2020 General Election, so any Democratic candidates for local races would have filed at the elections office. At 1 p.m. today, Stephens County Chief Registrar Eureka Grober declined to provide ConnectLocal.News with a final, complete list of qualified and filed candidates for the local, state and federal offices that will be included in the 2020 General Election.
According to data provided by the Stephens County GOP Chairman Rebeckah Bennett, and from information obtained from the Georgia Secretary of State, the following candidates have qualified for the seats that up for election in the 2020 General Election in Stephens County.
LOCAL OFFICE CANDIDATES
Incumbent Chris Stephens (R) – Stephens County Coroner
Incumbent Tim Quick (R) – Stephens County Clerk of Superior Court
Incumbent Glenda Ernest – Stephens County Probate Judge (non-partisan office)
Incumbent Don Tabor – Stephens County Chief Magistrate Judge (non-partisan office)
Incumbent Ann Pickett (R) – State Court Solicitor General for Stephens County
Incumbent James Irvin – Stephens County State Court Judge (non-partisan office)
Incumbent Debbie Whitlock (R) – Stephens County Board of Commissioners Post 2
Incumbent Dennis Bell (R) – Stephens County Board of Commissioners Post 3
incumbent Wendy Dawkins (R) – Stephens County Board of Education District 1 post 1
Incumbent Len Stovall (R) – Stephens County Board of Education at large
incumbent Mark Smith (R) – Stephens County Board of Education District 3 post 2 –
Incumbent Randy Shirley(R) – Stephens County Sheriff
Rusty Fulbright (R) – Stephens County Sheriff
STATE AND FEDERAL CANDIDATES
In state and federal races, Republicans account for the majority of candidates who filed this past week. While court-related elections, including several State Supreme Court Justice seats, will be uncontested, several state and federal legislative seats face an active campaign season.
Included in these is the Georgia State Senate District 50 seat currently held by Sen. John Wilkinson. Wilkinson will not be running 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. Just moments before the closing of qualifying today, Dan Gasaway joined the list of six other candidates vying for Wilkinson’s State Senate seat.
Gasaway was involved in a fierce battle for the State House of Representatives District 28 seat in 2018 against fellow Republican Chris Erwin. Erwin appeared to win the May 2018 Republican Primary. However, the seat was held in limbo through several lawsuits filed by Gasaway against Erwin and local Boards of Election in Stephens County and surrounding Counties. The cycle of elections and legal challenges left the district without a representative in the state House for much of the 2019 legislative session.
“The April 9, 2019 special election was the third election between Dan Gasaway (R) and Chris Erwin (R). The regularly scheduled primary on May 22, 2018, was deemed inconclusive due to ballot errors, so a new primary took place on December 4, 2018. The results of the December 2018 special election were also deemed inconclusive, so a judge ruled that a new election should be held." explained an entry in Ballotpedia.
Erwin won the April 9 election with 4,586 votes over Gasaway’s 1,490 votes, and was sworn in to office on April 26, 2019.
The Georgia State Senate District 50 seat - 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.
Andy Garrison (R)
Dan Gasaway (R)
Lee Moore (R)
Dee Daley (R)
The Georgia State House District 28 seat will be up for election this year. 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).
Incumbent Chris Erwin (R)
Three of the nine Georgia Supreme Court Justice seats are up for election this year. Georgia Supreme Court Justices are elected to six-year terms.
Justice of the Supreme Court (Bethel’s seat) – non partisan office
Incumbent Charlie Bethel
Justice of the Supreme Court (Warren’s Seat) – non partisan office
The seats of seven Justices on the Georgia Court of Appeals will be up for election this year. The Georgia Court of Appeal’s 15 Justices are elected to six-year terms.
Judge of the Court of Appeals (McMillian’s seat)
Incumbent Carla McMillian
Judge of the Court of Appeals (Gobeil’s seat)
Incumbent Elizabeth Dallas Gogeil
Judge of the Court of Appeals (Doyle’s seat)
Incumbent Sara Doyle
Judge of the Court of Appeals (Markle’s seat)
Judge of the Court of Appeals (Coomer’s seat)
Judge of the Court of Appeals (Brown’s seat)
Incumbent Trenton “Trent” Brown III
Dsitrict Attorney: Mountain District
Incumbent George R. Christian (R)
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.
Incumbent Lauren Bubba McDonald Jr (R)
Daniel Blackman (D)
Incumbent Jason Shaw (R)
Robert G. Bryant (D)
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 Class II Senate seat currently held by David Perdue (R) is up for it’s regularly-scheduled election. Perdue was first elected in 2014.
Tricia Carpenter McCracken (D)
Jon Ossoff (D)
Teresa Pike Tomlinson (D)
Shane Hazel (Libertarian) (Will not be on Primary ballot, only General Election ballot)
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. In Georgia. special elections held for "suddenly vacated seats" do not include party primaries, instead pitting all candidates who qualify against each other simultaneously in the general election. The Candidates for this seat will not appear on the May Primary ballot, only the November General Election Ballot.
Doug Collins, (R)
Derrick E. Grayson (R)
Annette Davis Jackson (R)
A. Wayne Johnson (R)
Incumbent appointee Kelly Loeffler (R)
Kandiss Taylor (R)
Deborah Jackson (D)
Jamesia James (D)
Tamara Johnson-Shealey (D)
Matt Lieberman (D)
Joy Felicia Slade (D)
Ed Tarver (D)
Raphael Warnock (D)
Richard Dien Winfield (D)
Brian Slowinski (Libertarian)
Al Bartell (Independent)
Allen Buckley (Independent)
Michael Todd Greene (Independent)
Valencia Stovall (Independent)
John "Green" Fortuin (Green)
Rod Mack (Write-in)
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.
Maria Strickland (R)
Kellie Weeks (R)