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Incumbents dominate most Northeast Georgia races
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Complete list of area candidates

Election 2009

What: Municipal elections for cities in Hall and nearby counties
Voter registration deadline: Oct. 5
Election Day: Nov. 3
Runoff: Dec. 1, if needed
More information: Hall County Elections Office, 2285 Browns Bridge Road, 770-531-6945.
Secretary of State’s office poll locator

According to an early list of qualifiers, area races will see a lot of incumbents vying for seats.

Only incumbents qualified to run for the two Gainesville City Council seats up for election in November. George Wangemann, Ward 4, and Danny Dunagan, Ward 1, are lined up to serve on the council for four more years.

School board Incumbent chairman David Syfan faces competition from newcomer Kellie Weeks. Delores Diaz and Richard Lacey are seeking the school board seat held by Kelvin Simmons, who was deemed ineligible for re-election because of the state's new nepotism law (his wife is a city school principal).

The Lula City Council will have two contested races this year. Paul Cox qualified to run against incumbent Mayor Milton Turner for his seat. Councilwoman Vicky Chambers will face competition for her Post 2 seat from Bruce Lane.

Clermont almost had an empty council seat, but by 3 p.m. on Friday, the last day of qualifying, Mary Ellen Rogers, 82, a lifelong resident of Clermont, entered the race.

Rogers will run to fill the city council seat vacated by Brad Weaver.

Two incumbent City Council members also qualified this week for the Clermont election. Mayor James Nix and Councilman James "Sonny" Helton will seek re-election.

Flowery Branch Mayor Diane Hirling will seek another term and faces no competition.

None of the sitting Flowery Branch councilmembers whose seats are up for election are running. Stacy Carlson and Kristopher Yardley are running for Post 3 on the Flowery Branch City Council while James Miller and Otto Mutzberg are in a race for Post 4 and Christopher Bozeman and Tara Richards are vying for Post 5.

In White County, the Cleveland City Council will remain the same, as no challengers qualified against incumbents Edward Young (Ward III) and Bradley Greene (Ward IV). Helen’s City Council has five candidates running for three at-large seats, with incumbents Jack Champagne and Helen Wilkins joined in the race by Judy Holloway, Lynn Whitener and Donnie Simonds.

In Demorest, Mayor Malcolm Hunnicutt seeks re-election and is now running unopposed. Earlier this week Michael Bradley attempted to qualify but was denied because he had not been living in the city for at least 12 months before the election.

All the incumbents qualified for mayor and for open seats in Clarkesville. Mayor Terry Greene seeks re-election unopposed, as does Post 1 Councilwoman Tina Evans, Post 4 Councilman Franklin Brown and Post 5 Councilman Brad Lewallen.

In Banks County, voters will be asked to select two new individuals to fill newly created positions on the county commission; after the November elections the board will have five members instead of three. Seven candidates qualified for the race.

The mayoral race in Homer will be between incumbent Mayor Douglas Cheeks and current City Councilwoman Sandra Garrison. All five city council spots were up for re-election this year — but the race will be uncontested as only five candidates qualified. Incumbents Jerry Payne, Betty Borders and Chris Tucker all met the qualifying deadline, as did newcomers Cliff B. Hill and Tony Sullivan.

The mayor’s race in Jefferson also will be contested as incumbent Jim Joiner and newcomer Debbie Langley both qualified for the position. City councilman Randall Griffith will face competition for his District 4 seat from Brian Mitsdarffer. Neither Kathy Dubose — City Council District 2 — nor Janice Wilbanks — school board District 2 — have competition for their races. Both are newcomers, and incumbent Derrell Crowe is the only candidate in the race for the District 4 school board seat.

Friday wrapped up qualifying week for local municipalities, leaving most — but not all — of the seats filled.

Nobody signed up to run for the Post 2 council seat in the town of Gillsville during qualifying week, so Mayor Larry Poole said the council will appoint someone to fill the seat in January.

Poole said the situation will be handled like a vacancy on the City Council.

"As of Jan. 1 of next year, Post 2 will become a vacant seat," Poole said. "The City Council right now plans to consider candidates and make an appointment."

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