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Field set for a decisive May 20 primary in Forsyth

No Democrats qualify for local races

POSTED: March 7, 2014 4:07 p.m.

CUMMING -- Qualifying for the May 20 primary ended Friday with no Democrats qualifying in Forsyth County. That means all the local races will be decided well ahead of the General Election in November.

“It’s a little disheartening that we don’t have a strong enough party that individuals feel like we can’t support a candidate,” said Sharon Gunter, who chairs the local Democratic Party. “But that’s just going to take time to gradually let people realize that there are Democrats here and we are active.”

Brad Wilkins, chairman of the Forsyth County Republican Party, said the county’s voters are “going to have some good choices to make.”

“We’ll accept competition [from Democrats] when it’s there. But if there is none, we’ll be glad to win the general election with a Republican,” Wilkins said.

While several incumbents on the ballot — including both Superior Court Judges, Jeffrey S. Bagley and Philip C. Smith — have no opposition, others have drawn several foes, including District 27 state Sen. Jack Murphy.

The longtime lawmaker from Cumming is being challenged by former Forsyth County Coroner Lauren W. McDonald III, Michael E. Williams and John T. “Jack” Schiff.

The contest for the District 22 seat in the state House of Representatives, which represents the southwest corner of Forsyth, will feature a rematch from last month’s special election runoff.

Sam Moore won that race to fill the unexpired term of the late Calvin Hill, who died in October. He will face Meagan C. Biello, his opponent in the runoff, and Wesley E. “Wes” Cantrell. All three are Cherokee County residents.

District 26 state Rep. Geoff Duncan of Cumming was sworn in January 2013 after narrowly defeating Tom Knox, a former state representative.

Knox was a state lawmaker from 2001-10, when he stepped down to mount an unsuccessful bid for state insurance commissioner. Friday, he qualified for a 2012 election rematch against Duncan.

District 24 state Rep. Mark Hamilton of Cumming also drew a challenger, Sheri Gilligan, a longtime Forsyth County resident.

District 51 state Sen. Steve Gooch of Dahlonega, District 25 state Rep. Mike Dudgeon of south Forsyth and District 9 state Rep. Kevin Tanner of Dawsonville are all running unopposed. The districts of Gooch and Tanner include part of north Forsyth.

At the local level, Pete Amos has no opposition for his District 1 County Commission post, while fellow incumbent Commissioner Todd Levent is being challenged by David Hole in District 3.

For the Forsyth County Board of Education, Kristin Morrissey is running unopposed to retain her District 2 seat, however Ann Crow is facing two challengers for her District 1 seat from Amanda Nixon and Mark Weiss.

Voting for county commission and school board is conducted districtwide.

District 1 includes some of Cumming and much of western Forsyth, while District 3 covers the county's southwestern corner. District 2 represents deep south Forsyth.

The election for Forsyth County Solicitor General will be a three-person race, with incumbent Donna Gopaul, who was appointed to the post by Gov. Nathan Deal, being challenged by Bill Finch and Susan Zereini.


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