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Former sheriff Vass to run for clerk of court
Ex-Democrat joins GOP to face incumbent Wood
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Former Hall County Sheriff Bob Vass, who served for eight years as a Democrat, qualified as a Republican candidate for Hall County Clerk of Court.

Vass, who served from 1992 to 2000 as sheriff, was an unsuccessful candidate for the state Senate against then-Sen. Casey Cagle in 2000.

"I have done retirement well," Vass said. "I’d like to be able to serve the public again."

Asked about his party switch, Vass said he stayed with the Democratic Party as long as he could.

"I didn’t leave them, they left me," he said.

He joins J.C. Smith as the other candidate to qualify for the post, currently held by Dwight Wood.

Also qualifying for the Republican ticket on Tuesday were incumbents Keith Echols and Patti Cornett. Echols is seeking re-election as tax commissioner, while Cornett is vying for another four years as probate judge. Echols has no opposition so far, while Cornett will face Gainesville attorney Dan Sammons in the July 15 GOP primary.

A Democratic candidate has announced his intention to run against state Rep. James Mills, R-Chestnut Mountain.

Christopher Strickland of Flowery Branch said he will qualify today at the state Capitol.

"The issues in Georgia are more important than one man with an interminable appointment," Strickland said. "We need to be concerned with how we will fund schools, deal with increasing property taxes and bring smart solutions to real problems."

Strickland, who has a doctorate in education, teaches at Creekland Middle School in Gwinnett County. He and his wife, Kelleigh, have two daughters.

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