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Tuesdays runoff features more than gubernatorial candidates
Runoffs set for secretary of state, insurance commissioner, attorney general, PSC post
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Winner faces Democrat Ken Hodges and Libertarian Don Smart in November.

Sam Olens
Age: 52
Residence: Marietta
Experience: Attorney. Chairman of Cobb County Commission, 2002-2010. Chairman of Atlanta Regional Commission, Vice Chair of the Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District.

What he’ll do if elected:
Pursue legal avenues to fight federal takeover of heath care; ensure Georgians have sufficient water supply; strengthen current ethics laws and prosecute elected officials who violate their oaths of office; create statewide grand juries to strengthen and expedite the current criminal justice system; prepare legal defense for 2011 redistricting efforts.

Preston Smith
Age: 37
Residence: Rome
Experience: Elected to state Senate in 2002. Committees include Reapportionment and Redistricting, Health and Human Services, Appropriations, Retirement.

What he’ll do if elected:
Will file lawsuit to defend state against Obamacare. Will work with law enforcement to fully enforce our state’s illegal immigration law. I helped write the law, it is tough, and we need to fully enforce it. Will defend our Constitution and protecting the hard-working citizens of Georgia.

Winner faces Democrat Mary Squires and Libertarian Shane Bruce in November.

Ralph T. Hudgens
Age: 67
Residence: Hull
Experience: Elected to state House in 1996. Served in state Senate since 2002. Worked with Shell Ag for 18 years. Served as State Director of ASCS, an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

What he’ll do if elected:
Create a level playing field for insurance buyers and sellers. Apply the same rules for commercial auto and homeowners insurance that were established in 2008. Oppose federal health care bill. Change regulations on rate increases and decreases for insurance companies to drive down costs.

Maria Sheffield
Age: 36
Residence: Mableton
Experience: Attorney for Burr Forman law firm.

What she’ll do if elected:
Fighting Obamacare. Audit department and reduce size of state government. Support free enterprise and small businesses by increasing competition, reducing regulations, improving processes. Institute zero-based budgeting, oppose any new taxes or fees. Aggressively fight insurance fraud. Instill high ethical standards involving gifts, expenses, use of government vehicles and equipment.

Winner faces Republican Brian Kemp and Libertarian David Chastain in November.

Gail Buckner
Age: 59
Residence: Jonesboro
Experience: Elected to Georgia House in 1990, to Senate in 2008. Democratic nominee for post in 2006, lost general election to Karen Handel.

What she’ll do if elected:
Seeks to return ethics, public service to the office. Will end practice of citizens not receiving professional licenses in a timely manner. Will end practice of some employees not answering questions of local election officials when they call state office. Will better protect citizens from fraud. Will help end culture of corruption at Capitol.

Georganna Sinkfield
Age: 67
Residence: Atlanta
Experience: Elected to state House in 1982. Served as chairwoman of Legislative Black Caucus.

What she’ll do if elected:
Guarantee elections are open to all qualified voters that ballots are secure. Create a verification system counties to protect everyone’s right to vote without discrimination. Promote responsible investments, put an end to fraud and abuse. Streamline the licensing process and modernize how small businesses engage the office by cutting through red tape.

Winner faces Democrat Keith Moffett and Libertarian Jim Sendelbach in November.

John Douglas  
Age: 56
Residence: Social Circle
Experience: Retired Army officer.

What he’ll do if elected:
Work to ensure utility companies are closely scrutinized, that any rate increase is absolutely necessary to them and is fair to Georgia consumers. Believes taking more money from the pockets of consumers will not get us out of the recession; only allowing those who earn the money to spend their money as they desire will bring recovery.

Tim Echols  
Age: 49
Residence: Athens
Experience: Executive for nonprofit.

What he’ll do if elected:
Plans to move forward with alternative energy, especially converting municipal and state vehicles to compressed natural gas. Address potential cost overruns for new nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle, potential cost increases if “cap and trade” legislation passes. Push PSC to crack down more on “rogue” movers who make it difficult for legitimate companies to make a profit.

PSC candidates discuss the issues

Elections Guide

Tuesday’s runoff election for statewide races isn’t just about deciding a GOP nominee in Georgia’s governor’s race.

Georgia voters still have a few more decisions to make in the way of partisan nominations for other key statewide offices.

Democrats have one statewide matter to clear up Tuesday while Republicans have four.

The lack of choices on the Democratic ticket is reflected in local interest in the primary. On Thursday afternoon, a little more than 52 Hall County voters had voted early in the Democratic runoff, according to Charlotte Sosebee, interim elections superintendent for the county.

Democrats’ only statewide election in Tuesday’s runoff is in the down ticket, secretary of state’s race.

The winner will face the incumbent, Republican nominee Brian Kemp, and Libertarian David Chastain in November.

Seeking to make it to that level of competition are Georgia General Assembly veterans Gail Buckner and Georganna Sinkfield.

In a field that first started with five Democratic candidates, Buckner led the July primary with 35 percent of the vote; Sinkfield followed with 22 percent.

Aside from the gubernatorial primary, the Republican ballot has three statewide runoff elections: attorney general, commissioner of insurance and the District 2 seat on the Public Service Commission.

Those four races have garnered more interest in Hall County. By Thursday, 2,349 Hall County voters had cast a ballot for the runoff.

All three races landed in the runoff after crowded candidate fields left no candidate with a majority of the votes cast in July.

Public Service Commission candidate Tim Echols won 35 percent of the votes cast in July’s primary. The Athens businessman will face John Douglas, a state senator from Social Circle. Douglas received about 27 percent of the vote in July’s primary.

Tuesday’s winner will faces Democrat Keith Moffett, who was unopposed for the Democratic nomination, and Libertarian Jim Sendelbach on Nov. 2.

With 39.9 percent of the vote, Sam Olens, a past chairman of the Cobb County Commission and the Atlanta Regional Commission, led the Republican field of candidates seeking to be Georgia’s next attorney general.

Without a clear majority, Olens will face state Sen. Preston Smith, who garnered 30.6 percent of Republican votes in July, Smith, of Rome has served in the General Assembly since 2003. He is a former chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee over judicial agencies.

The winner will face Democrat nominee Ken Hodges and Libertarian Don Smart in the Nov. 2 general election.

The state’s insurance commissioner race has proved much tighter, however.

In last month’s primary, state Sen. Ralph T. Hudgens, who chairs the senate’s Insurance and Labor Committee, landed 1 percentage point above Maria Sheffield, insurance attorney and former employee of the Georgia Department of Insurance.

Both Hudgens and Sheffield face each other to decide who will run as a Republican against Democrat Mary Squires, who was unopposed in her bid for the Democratic nomination in July, and Libertarian Shane Bruce.

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