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Qualifying wraps up for 2018 races

County, state and federal seats are up for grabs in the 2018 election, and officials for those seats made their names known last week.

Qualifying for the elections was held in both Forsyth County and Atlanta depending on the seat from Monday through noon on Friday. 

“It went very smooth,” said Barbara Luth, Forsyth County’s supervisor of voter registrations and elections. “[With] the programming that the state has for us to do it, we got all of the proper paperwork, everything was filled out [and] everybody had everything they were supposed to have. The parties were here to qualify and they helped tremendously, too.”

Along with deciding Republican and Democratic candidates for the Nov. 6 elections, voters in the May 22 primary will also answer questions for their parties.


1. Do you support the incorporation (creation) of the City of Sharon Springs in South Forsyth? (This question will be removed if cityhood passes the state Senate and is signed into law by Gov. Nathan Deal)

2. Should the next (post-2018) e-SPLOST and General SPLOST be used to retire existing debt (bonds) that the County or School System has acquired?


1. Should Georgia amend the state Constitution to legalize the use of cannabis/marijuana for those 21 years old and older, allow a retail dispensary base, tax said products, and allocate revenue received equally to state education and transportation infrastructure?

2. Should citizens convicted of a crime and served time in prison and are now on parole/probation have their right to vote restored?

3. Should Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients be granted a path to citizenship?

4. Should more affordable housing be available in Forsyth County?

5. Should Georgia have a non-partisan redistricting committee whose purpose is to prevent gerrymandering which is a process that manipulates the boundaries of (an electoral constituency) so as to favor one party or class?

6. Are you aware that the fastest growing landfill in Georgia is located in Forsyth County along the Etowah River and Old Federal Road, such that a growing area of Forsyth County is becoming impacted in terms of odor and groundwater pollution?

The end of qualifying means all candidates have been set for the races. A second qualifying period will not be held, as it has in the past.

On May 22, primaries will be held to elect the Republican and Democrat candidates for each seat. If a runoff is held for a primary election, only those who voted for that party or did not vote at all in the primary will be allowed to vote. The election will be held on Nov. 6.

Parties will also have straw poll questions for voters.

Voters living in the area might also have the chance to vote for the proposed city of Sharon Springs, though Luth said the bill for cityhood will need to pass the state Senate and be signed by Gov. Nathan Deal by March 15 to make it on the May ballot. 

If passed after March 15, the matter will go on the November ballot. 

Locally, there will be only two contested races for county seats.

Dooz Owings, a network administrator, and Molly Cooper, former owner of Inside Additions Furniture and Home Accessories, will face-off for the District 1 seat on the Forsyth County Board of Commissioners. Voters will decide the next commissioner in the May 22 Republican Primary.

Incumbent Pete Amos announced in February he would not seek re-election.

District 3 Commissioner and Commission Chairman Todd Levent was the only candidate to qualify for his seat. 

The District 1 member of the Forsyth County Board of Education will also have a race to replace Incumbent Ann Crow, who is not seeking re-election. Republicans Mark Weiss, who works in the IT industry, and Wes McCall, deputy chief of Alpharetta public safety, were the only candidates to qualify.

“Only District 1 in commission on BOE had two qualifiers, and that was probably because there was no incumbent running,” Luth said. “The other ones are unopposed.”

District 2 Board of Education member Kristin Morrissey qualified for the seat she has held since 2011. Solicitor General Bill Finch was also the only candidate to qualify for his seat.

The only incumbent county candidate to draw a challenge was State Court Judge Leslie Abernathy-Maddox, who will face challenger John Rife, an attorney. 

The race is non-partisan and will be on both Republican and Democratic ballots. Voters can also choose non-partisan ballots in the primary for only that race.

In the race to replace state Sen. Michael Williams, who is running for governor, Republicans Bill Fielder, a small business owner; Brian Tam, a restaurant owner and former District 2 county commissioner and Greg Dolezal, a small business owner and a former member of the county’s planning board will be decided in the Republican primary.

The winner will face Democrat Steve Smith in the Nov. 6 election. 

District 25 state Rep. Todd Jones will have challengers in Republican Steven Grambergs, who works in sales, and Democrat Anita Tucker, a volunteer activist.

Joanna Cloud, executive director of the Lake Lanier Association, will face Incumbent District 24 state Rep. Sheri Gilligan.

Incumbent Kevin Tanner, a business owner, and Mark Hajduk, also a business owner, will be on the ballot for the District 9 state representative. 

District 22 state Rep. Wes Cantrell, a Republican, will face Democrat Charles Ravenscraft. 

District 51 state Sen. Steve Gooch and District 26 state Rep. Marc Morris were the only candidates to qualify for their respective seats. 

For the state’s next governor, Williams, Brian Kemp, Clay Tippins, Eddie Hayes, Hunter Hill, Casey Cagle and Marc Urbach registered as Republicans and Stacey Abrams and Stacey Evans qualified as Democrats.

The lieutenant governor’s race will pit David Schafer, Rick Jeffares and Geoff Duncan, a Forsyth resident who previously held the District 26 seat, will compete for the Republican nomination. Sarah Riggs Amico and Triana Arnold James will run as Democrats. 

Forsyth County’s U.S. congressmen will both have challenges.

District 9 Rep. Doug Collins, a Republican, will have two Democratic challengers in Dave Cooper, a veteran who served for more than 20 years, and Josh McCall, a teacher.

District 7 Rep. Rob Woodall drew challenges from fellow Republican Shane Hazel and Democrats Carolyn Bourdeaux, David Kim, Ethan Pham, Kathleen Allen, Melissa Davis and Steve Reilly.