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March 08--MOULTRIE -- Moultrie attorney Saxby Chambliss was first elected to Congress in 1994. Now, after eight years in the House of Representatives and 12 years in the Senate (at the end of this year), Georgia's senior senator has decided not to run for re-election.
Qualifying for his seat concluded Friday with 11 candidates clamoring to replace him. None of them are from South Georgia; the nearest are from Columbus and Savannah.
On May 20, Republican voters will choose from among seven who qualified with the GOP. That same day, Democratic voters will select from among four candidates. Runoffs are possible in both parties. Voters across the state will choose from between the two primary winners on Nov. 4.
Republican qualifiers were:
--Arthur A. "Art" Gardner, an Atlanta attorney.
--David A. Perdue, an Atlanta businessman.
--Derrick E. Grayson, a network engineer from Redan.
--J.H. "Jack" Kingston, of Savannah, a congressman from the state's 1st District.
--J.P. "Phil" Gingrey, of Marietta, a physician and congressman from the state's 11th District.
--Karen Handel, of Alpharetta, owner of Handel Strategy Group.
--Paul Collins Broun, a physician and congressman from the state's 10th District.
Democrat qualifiers were:
--Branko "Rad" Radulovacki, an Atlanta physician.
--M. Michelle Nunn, of Atlanta, an executive of a non-profit agency.
--O. "Steen" Miles, of Decatur, a retired journalist.
--Todd Anthony Robinson, a Columbus educator.
The U.S. Senate race isn't the only state-wide contest that drew a crowd. After incumbent state School Superintendent John Barge announced plans to run for governor, 15 people qualified to seek his seat.
Republicans who qualified were:
--Allen Bowles Fort, superintendent of the Quitman County School System.
--Ashley D. Bell, a Gainesville attorney.
--Kira G. Willis, a Roswell teacher.
--Mary Kay Bacallao, a professor of education at Mercer University.
--Michael L. "Mike" Buck, chief of staff for the sitting state school superintendent and former administrator of Rome City Schools.
--Nancy T. Jester, of Dunwoody, who lists her occupation as "self-employed."
--Richard L. Woods, of Tifton, who lists his occupation as "educator/self-employed."
--Sharyl H. Dawes, of Johns Creek, who lists her occupation as "PTA."
--T. Fitz Johnson, a business owner.
Democrats who qualified were:
--Alisha Thomas Morgan, of Austell, director of a non-profit program and a consultant.
--Jurita Forehand Mays, a Decatur educator.
--Marion Spencer "Denise" Freeman, a consultant and advocate from Tignall.
--R. "Rita" Robinzine, a Lithonia teacher.
--Tarnisha L. Dent, an Atlanta educator.
--Valarie D. Wilson, of Decatur, director of a non-profit agency.
Other state races:
--Attorney General: Incumbent Sam Olens, a Republican, qualified without opposition within his party, but he'll face Gregory K. "Greg" Heicht, a Stockbridge attorney, in November. Heicht was the only Democrat to qualify.
--Agriculture Commissioner: Incumbent Gary Black qualified as a Republican, and Christopher James Irviin, a contractor from Toccoa, qualified as a Democrat.
--Insurance Commissioner: Incumbent Ralph Hudgens was the only Republican to qualify, but two Democrats will face off May 20 to challenge him in November. Elizabeth N. "Liz" Johnson, a retired insurance professional from Statesboro, and Keith G. Heard, an insurance associate and businessman from Fayetteville, both qualified last week.
--Labor Commissioner: Incumbent J. Mark Butler qualified as a Republican, and Robbin K. Shipp, an Atlanta attorney, qualified as a Democrat.
--Governor: In a twist, incumbent J. Nathan Deal will face a challenge from within his party, School Superintendent John Barge. The winner will face Democrat Jason Jl. Carter, an Atlanta attorney, in November.
--Lieutenant Governor: Incumbent L.S. "Casey" Cagle qualified as a Republican, and Connie J. Stokes, an Atlanta real estate broker and consultant, qualified as a Democrat.
--Public Service Commission, Post 1: Incumbent Herman D. "Doug" Everett qualified without opposition.
--Public Service Commission, Post 4: Incumbent Republican Lauren W. "Bubba" McDonald faces two challengers within his party: Charles C. "Craig" Lutz, a Flowery Branch insurance agent, and Douglas T. Kidd, an attorney. The winner will face Democrat Daniel A. Blackman, an Atlanta business manager, in November.
--Secretary of State: Incumbent Republican Brian P. Kemp qualified without opposition, but two Democrats -- Doreen Carter, a consultant from Lithonia, and Gerald B. Beckum, the mayor of Oglethorpe -- will compete in May to challenge him in November.
(c)2014 The Moultrie Observer (Moultrie, Ga.)
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