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Qualifying wraps up for May 24 primary in Forsyth County

FORSYTH COUNTY — The field for the May 24 General Primary in Forsyth County was set Friday as qualifying came to a close with three more Republican candidates registering before the noon cutoff.

“It’s gone smoothly,” said Barbara Luth, the county’s supervisor of voter registrations and elections. “With the new system that they’ve got [for the elections], it’s done really good. It makes it a long week to have it four-and-a-half days.”

The final three candidates to qualify were Lauren McDonald III, who is running for coroner, an office he held from 2001-2013, and Board of Education hopefuls Steve Mashburn, in District 3, and Michael Tasos, in District 5.

On Thursday, Republican Laura Semanson joined the race for the District 5 post on the county commission. Also in that district, but for school board, Kevin Foley and incumbent Nancy Roche qualified to run. Both are Republicans.

Seats on the county commission and school board are determined by district-only voting. District 5 covers much of eastern Forsyth.

County Commissioners Jim Boff, in District 5, and Brian Tam, in District 2, are not seeking re-election.

In addition to coroner, the ballot also includes countywide voting for elected offices ranging from sheriff and tax commissioner to clerk of court and several judgeships.

Luth said Friday that the next step is getting the primary’s ballot ready and hearing back from the two local parties.

“Today, we’ll be sending our report down to Kennesaw State University to begin building the ballots,” she said. “Final certification will be coming to us from the parties on Monday at noon, and we’ll have their [ballot] questions that they will formally submit to us.”

There will be three weeks of advance voting, beginning on May 2, prior to the election.

The following is a listing of those who qualified (unless otherwise noted, all candidates are Republicans):

* Sheriff: Duane Piper, incumbent, and Ron Freeman

* County commission District 2: Rick Swope

* County commission District 4: Cindy Jones Mills, incumbent, and Kelli Warren

* County commission District 5: Chandon Adams, Justin Hawkins and Laura Semanson

* Board of education District 3: Tom Cleveland, incumbent, and Steve Mashburn

* Board of education District 4: Darla Light, incumbent

* Board of education District 5: Nancy Roche, incumbent, Kevin Foley and Michael Tasos; and Democrat Anita Tucker

* Coroner: Lauren McDonald III and Stan Rutledge

* Clerk of Courts: Greg G. Allen, incumbent

* Probate Court Judge: Lynwood Jordan, incumbent

* Tax Commissioner: Matthew Ledbetter, incumbent

Lawmakers at both the state and federal level also are up for re-election this year.

Republican Sens. Steve Gooch of District 51 and Michael Williams of District 27 and Republican state Reps. Sheri Gilligan of District 24, Geoff Duncan of District 26, Kevin Tanner of District 9 and Wes Cantrell of District 22 all qualified.

Williams will face a challenge from Democrat Daniel Blackman, while Gooch will run against fellow Republican John Williamson.

The only member of the local House delegation with a challenge will be Cantrell, from Democrat Oscar “Asghar” Hajloo of Canton.

The District 25 seat will be a race between Todd Jones, a technology officer, and Stuart Jones, a financial planner. Rep. Mike Dudgeon, who currently holds the seat, announced in January that he would not run again due to his growing business.

U.S. Reps. Rob Woodall of District 7 and Doug Collins of District 9 each qualified, though both drew opposition.

Woodall will face Democrat Rashid Malik of Lawrenceville in the district that covers south Forsyth and a large swath of Gwinnett County.

Collins, whose district includes north Forsyth, will go up against fellow Republicans Roger Fitzpatrick, Bernie Fontaine, Mike Scupin and Paul Broun, the former representative for District 10.