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Let the political races begin: Candidates line up for 2016 election
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Election dates

Presidential preference primary: March 1
General primary: May 24
General election: Nov. 8

The year 2016 will be a big one for elections — from county races to state contests to national campaigns.

Four big questions await answers.

• Who will vie for the chairman’s seat on the Hall County Board of Commissioners?

Richard Mecum, the current chairman, has said he has no desire to seek re-election.

And Commissioner Billy Powell has said he will not seek the chairman’s seat, but will instead seek re-election to District 2. 

Commissioner Jeff Stowe has not yet announced his intentions. 

Meanwhile, Steve Gailey, a former District 3 commissioner, has announced his candidacy for the chairman’s seat.

So, too, has Richard Higgins, who served 11 years as chairman of the Hall County Board of Education.

• Will anyone run against incumbent Republicans for state and national office?

Gainesville Republicans Butch Miller, Lee Hawkins, Carl Rogers and Emory Dunahoo are all up for re-election next year.

Each ran unopposed in 2014, but will that change in 2016?

Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Doug Collins, R-Gainesville, is also up for re-election next year. He beat Democrat David Vogel easily in 2014.

• Who will win the Republican and Democratic presidential primaries in Hall County and Georgia?

Georgia is one of 12 states voting in the presidential primary on Super Tuesday, March 1, known as the “SEC primary.”

This could be the most important date on the election calendar determining who will win the nomination for each party.

• Will Georgia voters support the opportunity school district referendum?

The General Assembly has signed off on a ballot referendum that, if approved, would allow the state to take over failing public schools and potentially convert them to charter schools.

The passage of legislation authorizing a state takeover of low-performing schools ensures that the superintendent will be Deal — not that guy named Richard Woods who the voters elected last year.

The opportunity school district requires an amendment to the state constitution.

Voters OK’d a constitutional amendment in 2012 to establish the state charter school commission.

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