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Candidate qualifying began Monday, ends Friday; primary July 15
by Debbie Lurie-Smith
Apr 30, 2008 | 2369 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The first two days of qualifying for Jones County’s July 15 primary had at least one surprise with one unannounced candidate and another who changed the office for which he is competing.

All the qualifiers came in Monday, beginning with Board of Education member Mark Andrews who was the first. Andrews is the current representative for education District Four and qualified as a Democrat.

Board of Education member Willie Fluellen, also a Democrat, qualified to run for his District Two post. District Two and Four are the only two Board of Education positions that are up for re-election this year because of the board’s staggered terms.

Three constitutional officers also qualified for re-election Monday, and all of them registered as Democrats. Butch Reece qualified for Sheriff; Brian S. Jackson, tax commissioner; and Bart W. Jackson, Clerk of the Court.

The office of Judge of Probate Court was changed to a non-partisan office last year and is the only constitutional office in Jones County designated as such. According to Elections Superintendent Marion Hatton, qualifying for nonpartisan offices will begin at 9:00 a.m. June 23 and will end at noon June 27.

On the Republican side, Donald Graham qualified to run for coroner, Thomas A. Robinson as a candidate for Commission District Three, and Murray ‘Kip’ King Smith Jr., for Commission District Two. Graham and Robinson had made formal announcements of their intentions to run prior to qualifying.

Gregory J. Becham announced his intentions of running for Commission chairman two weeks ago but apparently changed his mind before time to qualify. Becham qualified to run as a Republican for District One Commissioner.

Incumbent commissioners Larry Childs, District One; Mell Merritt, District Three; Bert Liston, District Four; and Chairman Preston Hawkins all announced that they will be running for re-election but had not qualified as of Tuesday afternoon. The commissioners have been in Savannah for an Associations of County Commissioners of Georgia Conference and are expected to qualify upon their return.

District Two Commissioner David Gault has not made a formal announcement but stated in a telephone conversation Tuesday that he is intending to run.

The district attorney and judges for the Ocmulgee Circuit qualify with the state but will be included on Jones County’s ballots. The ballot for the July primary will also include state representatives and senators and U.S. congressmen.

Qualifying will remain open through noon Friday. The general primary will be held July 15 with the runoff, if needed, Aug. 5. Questions may be directed to the Elections and Registration Office at 478-986-3222.
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