The May 24 primary ballot features a number of competitive races in Hall County, with a hotly contested U.S. House District 9 race and numerous candidates for posts on the Hall County Board of Commissioners.
One candidate will face no opposition, however: Republican Matt Dubnik, the lone qualifier to replace retiring state Rep. Carl Rogers.
There was little time to enter the race for the House District 29 seat when Rogers announced his retirement after 22 years in office earlier this month. Several prominent names were floated as potential Republican and Democratic candidates to replace Rogers: Gainesville Councilman Sam Couvillon, Gainesville attorney Chandelle Summer, the Rev. Tom Smiley of Lakewood Baptist Church, Gainesville financial adviser Mark Turner and even Allen Nivens, who is married to Rogers’ niece.
Local political insiders said they were surprised no one jumped in the Republican race to compete against Dubnik, a marketing professional and CEO of Forum Communications in Gainesville, during the qualifying period this week.
Beating an incumbent in a state congressional race is difficult, so it was thought the open seat would draw more interest. As it is, Dubnik will be the lone name on the Republican primary and fall ballots.
Here’s how the races look:
• Republicans Paul Broun, incumbent Doug Collins, Roger Fitzpatrick, Bernie Fontaine and Mike Scupin for U.S. House District 9. They had all announced earlier that they were interested in running.
• Republicans Roy Benifield and incumbent John Wilkinson for state Senate District 50
• Republicans Eugene Moon and incumbent Billy Powell for Hall County Board of Commissioners Post 2
• Republicans Troy Phillips and incumbent Jeff Stowe for the District 4 seat on the Hall Board of Commissioners. Democratic candidate Angela Middleton would face the winner in November.
• Republicans incumbent Gerald Couch and Jeffrey Ray Sosebee for Hall County sheriff
• Republicans Clay Davis and incumbent Craig Herrington for Hall County Board of Education Post 3
• Democrat Michelle Jones filed for state House District 30. She would face incumbent Republican Emory Dunahoo in November.
Republican incumbents who have filed and face no opposition in the primary include:
• Butch Miller for state Senate District 49
• Lee Hawkins for state House District 27
• Emory Dunahoo for state House District 30
• Timothy Barr for state House District 103
• Nath Morris for Hall County Board of Education Post 4
• Marion Merck for coroner
• Charles Baker for clerk of superior court
• Margaret Gregory for magistrate judge
• Patty Walters Laine for probate judge
• Darla Eden for tax commissioner
Incumbents qualifying for nonpartisan seats include:
• Bonnie Oliver and Kathlene Gosselin for two Superior Court Judge seats
• Bernard Roberts filed for the second state court judge position
• Thomas “Larry” Nix and Michael Haynes two positions on the nonpartisan Soil and Water Conservation board.
In statewide races, numerous candidates have filed for U.S. Senate.
• Republicans Mary Kay Bacallao, Derrick “Tmot” Grayson and incumbent Johnny Isakson
• Democrats Cheryl Copeland, James Knox, Jim Barksdale and John F. Coyne III
Republicans Kellie Pollard Austin, incumbent Tim Echols and Michelle Miller have filed for public service commissioner.
All 56 state Senate and 180 House seats also will be on the November ballot. Several prominent state lawmakers face primary opponents, including House Speaker David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge.
And incumbents face no opposition in nonpartisan races.
• David Nahmias for Supreme Court justice
• Anne Barnes and Chris McFadden for Court of Appeals judges