Recap: Who Qualified for Paulding’s Elected Offices?
For those who may have missed our updates last week on election qualifying, we bring you up to speed with this handy guide.
Editor's note: Since this story was published, Ron Crist withdrew from the Paulding County School Board's District 3 race.
In the wake of last week’s qualifying period, it became clear that Paulding voters will be able to determine the county’s leaders for 2013 and beyond well before the general election. But a few state offices that represent county residents will have to be decided upon in November.
With only one exception, only Republicans qualified for county offices up for election this year. That means that barring a runoff, the July 31 general primary will crown those who will take office or begin new terms next year.
Two of the county’s races belong to the Paulding Board of Commissioners. Commission Chairman David Austin faces a challenge from Tony Crowe, while David Carmichael and Heidi Leggett will vie for the commission’s Post 1 seat after incumbent Larry Ragsdale’s last-minute dropping of a re-election bid.
Chief Magistrate Martin Valbuena is facing the most opposition in this year’s local elections—Dan Collins, Brian Hardison and Fred Henderson are aiming to unseat him.
Coroner Sam Clark is being challenged by Jeff Eberhart, while Jon Tripcony is opposing the county’s current surveyor, Carlton Rakestraw.
The Paulding County School Board will see two of its incumbents face challengers—District 3’s Kim Cobb will square off against Ron Crist, while At Large Board Member Joe Watson is being opposed by Justin Rowland.
And Charles Rutland Sr., who qualified for Soil and Water supervisor, was the only non-partisan candidate to enter a county race. No other individuals vied for the non-paid position.
A handful of state offices that impact Paulding County will see their races span until the Nov. 6 general election. But more than half of them will be determined by the July 31 Republican primary after no Democrats qualified for them.
One of those races to be settled by the Republican primary is that for the District 31 State Senate seat. Incumbent Bill Heath of Bremen faces two challengers from Dallas— Bill Carruth and J.K. Rogers. A debate next week at the Paulding County Chamber of Commerce will focus solely on the Senate seat and is slated to feature all three candidates.
Over in the State House, District 19 incumbent Paulette Rakestraw Braddock of Powder Springs is being opposed by Michael Ray James of Acworth and Melissa Morrison of Dallas. The victor will have no Democratic opposition in November.
But the two State House seats new to Paulding will feature fall campaigning. Kimberly Alexander of Dallas is the sole Democrat vying for the newly created District 66 seat. She will await the winner of the three-way Republican race between Michael “Mike” Miller, Bob Snelling and Mickey Thompson, all of Douglasville.
In District 67, incumbent Bill Hembree of Winston is unopposed for the July primary, but will meet Democrat Leigh Mcmutry, also from Winston, in November.
Another race to be decided solely in November is the one for the U.S. House’s District 14 seat. Incumbent Tom Graves, R-Ranger, will face Fort Oglethorpe’s Daniel “Danny” Grant, a Democrat.
And on the state’s Public Service Commission, District 5 incumbent Stan Wise of Marietta faces a challenge from fellow Republican Pam Davidson of Douglasville; the winner will be unopposed in November.
Some candidates have no worries in this election cycle
Incumbents in county and state offices set to earn another term after remaining unchallenged at the end of last week’s qualifying period were:
- Sheriff — Gary Gulledge.
- Judge, Probate Court — Deborah Andersen.
- Clerk, Superior Court — Treva Shelton.
- Tax Commissioner — Bill Watson.
- School Board District 1 — Theresa Lyons.
- State Senate, District 30 — Bill Hamrick, R-Carrollton.
- State Representative, District 17 — Howard Maxwell, R-Dallas.
- Superior Court Judges, Paulding Circuit: Tonny S. Beavers and Kenneth G. Vinson.
Also unopposed was Richard Manous, who will succeed Michael Skelton, Paulding County School Board member for District 4, after Skelton chose not to seek re-election.
You know the candidates; now what?
Georgia voters have until July 2 to qualify to vote in the primary election.
Paulding voters will get to take advantage of early voting at the local Elections and Voter Registration office weekdays from July 9 and through July 27. Saturday voting will be offered at the same location July 21.
Advance voting will open up at three satellite offices the week of July 23. The primary election day is July 31.