Clayton candidates march into qualifying week Monday

JONESBORO — The time has come for potential elected office candidates to prove their aspirations are more than just talk by officially putting their hats in the ring.

This year’s earlier than usual primary season arrives Monday at 9 a.m., with the beginning of the state’s candidate qualifying period for federal, state and local offices. It will end at noon March 7.

The primary election date is two months earlier than normal this year because a federal judge ordered the federal primary date moved to an earlier date to give oversees voters time to send in their absentee ballots for run-off elections. The election was set for May 20.

The Georgia General Assembly moved the primary date for state and local offices to that date so local election offices wouldn’t have to bear the cost of holding two primaries.

Two big statewide races to watch during qualifying week are the governor’s race and a U.S. Senate race. Republican Gov. Nathan Deal is facing several potential challengers, both in and out of his party, to his re-election bid. Among the Republican challengers are State School Superintendent John Barge and Dalton Mayor David Pennington.

On the Democratic side, state Sen. Jason Carter (D-Decatur) is expected to qualify this week.

The race for the Senate seat held by Saxby Chambliss is wide open this year with Chambliss opting to not seek another term. Several Republicans and Democrats have announced plans to pursue that seat.

While ballots this year will be headlined by the governor’s and Senate races, Clayton County voters will have to chose the occupants of several local offices.

Most notable among those local offices are nearly half of the seats on the school board, including Chairwoman Pam Adamson and Vice-Chairwoman Alieka Anderson. Over the last week, Adamson and the school board have been under fire because of plans to hire Luvenia Jackson as the permanent superintendent without first seeking public input.

Michael King and Charlton Bivins are the other board members whose seats are up for election this year.

Commissioners Sonna Singleton and Michael Edmondson are also up for re-election this year.

Local nonpartisan elections will be held for two State Court judgeships and two Superior Court judgeships.

Qualifying for federal, state and legislative offices will take place at the state Capitol in Atlanta. Meanwhile, qualifying for local offices will take place at the Historic Clayton County Courthouse, 121 South McDonough St., in Jonesboro.

Potential candidates for partisan races must submit their candidacy paperwork to representatives of their respective political parties at those locations. Democratic candidates will file their paperwork with party officials in the ceremonial courtroom while Republican candidates will sign up in the Elections and Registration office.

Candidates for nonpartisan offices, namely judges for State Court, will also submit their paperwork in the Elections and Registration office.

Candidates for Superior Court judge must go to the Secretary of State’s office at the state Capitol to qualify because it is a state office.

The seats for which candidates will be qualifying next week include:

U.S. Senator (Fee: $5,220)

U.S. Congressional Districts 3, 10 and 13 (Fee: $5,220)

Governor (Fee: $4,180.18)

Lieutenant Governor (Fee: $2,748.28)

Secretary of State (Fee: $3,709.10)

State School Superintendent (Fee: $3,698.10)

Attorney General (Fee: $4,133.74)

Commissioner of Agriculture (Fee: $3,646.70)

Commissioner of Insurance (Fee: $3,611.83)

Commissioner of Labor (Fee: $3,647.11)

Public Service Commissioner (Fee: $3,493.57)

Justice of Supreme Court (Fee: $5,016.29)

Judge of the Court of Appeals ($4,985.59)

State House of Representatives Districts 60, 63, 74, 75, 76, 77 and 78 (Fee: $400)

State Senate Districts 34 and 44 (Fee: $400)

Clayton County Board of Commissioners Districts 1 and 4 (Fee: $577.21)

Clayton County Board of Education districts 1, 4, 8 and 9 (Fee: $360)

Superior Court judgeships (Fee: $3,607.56)

State Court judgeships (Fee: $4,222.24)