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7 Hall residents seek Mills open House seat
5 more running for Butterworth's Senate seat
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Ballots are set for the Nov. 8 special election for two vacancies for local representation in the Georgia General Assembly.

Seven South Hall residents have signed up to succeed Rep. James Mills, R-Chestnut Mountain, in the state House. Another five Northeast Georgia residents have qualified for the election to fill the vacancy left in the Senate by Jim Butterworth, R-Cornelia.

Both Mills and Butterworth left the General Assembly to accept appointments from Gov. Nathan Deal.

The former dean of the Hall County legislative delegation, Mills was recently appointed to the state Board of Pardons and Parole. He will join the board in January.

In line to succeed him are six Republicans.
Among them are a former member of the Hall County Board of Commissioners, Bobby Banks; a local attorney, William "Sonny" Sykes; a local builder, Todd Reed; and two businessmen, Emory Dunahoo and Dominic Ottaviano.

Kris Yardley quit his Flowery Branch City Council post to qualify for the seat.

The council will meet at 6 tonight to consider holding a March 6 special election to replace him. That's the same day as the presidential preference primary.

One Democrat, Paul Godfrey, is also seeking Mills' seat.
Wednesday was the final day to qualify with the secretary of state for both the election to fill Mills' vacancy and Butterworth's.

Though no one new signed up for Mills' race by the close of the qualifying period, two people stepped up to the line in the race to succeed Butterworth.

Both Democrat Mary Beth Focer of Hartwell and Republican Curtis Burger of Lavonia signed up for the Senate race.

They join three other Republican hopefuls to complete Butterworth's term in the state Senate: former Rep. Rick Austin of Demorest, John Wilkinson of Toccoa and David Strickland of Royston.

Butterworth left his position in the state Senate when Deal appointed him adjutant general of the Georgia National Guard in September.

Currently, the 50th Senate District he left behind includes all of Banks, Franklin, Habersham, Hart, Rabun, Stephens and Towns counties as well as a portion of White County.

Qualifying was also held this week to complete Austin's term in the statehouse.

The election to complete his, Butterworth and Mills' terms will be held on the same day as municipal elections, Nov. 8.

No party primaries will be held in the special elections, though party affiliation will be listed on the ballot. A runoff, if needed, would be held Dec. 6.

Voters must be registered by Oct. 11 to vote Nov. 8.