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Dawson County political races draw numerous early qualifiers
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The political signs started popping up months ago as numerous men and women vowed to run for local office.

Now that qualifying is underway, voters can see who has taken the next step and filed papers to seek election.

The slate of candidates ranges from incumbents that have held office for years and years, to a number of political newcomers ready to take on the leadership roles for the first time.

Among the newcomers qualifying were Johnny Glass, Nicole Stewart and Karen McKee, who are vying to be Dawson County's next tax commissioner. Linda Townley, who has held the office for three terms, has announced she will not seek re-election.

Heather Hulsebus, a local community volunteer, filed to run for the county's District 4 commission seat, currently held by Julie Hughes Nix.

Billy Thurmond, who recently retired as director of Dawson County Emergency Services, and architect Peter Hill qualified to run for chairman of the commission. Three term chairman Mike Berg will not seek re-election, he has said.

Also running for county commission is former city councilman Chris Gaines. He is seeking the District 2 seat currently held by James Swafford, who has announced he would not seek a third term.

Other newcomers seeking office are Jeff Perry, a former parole chief, and Sheriff's Capt. Tony Wooten, who filed to run for Dawson County Sheriff. Five-term Sheriff Billy Carlisle is retiring at the end of the year.

Incumbents who filed to run for re-election to Dawson County posts include Clerk of Courts Justin Power, Probate Judge Jennifer Burt, Chief Magistrate Lisa Thurmond, Board of Education District 2 member Elaine Wilson and Roger Slaton for Board of Education District 4.

At the state level, 9th District Representative Kevin Tanner qualified to seek re-election.

Incumbent District 7 Representative David Ralston qualified and is being challenged once again by Sam "Coach" Snider, a retired educator from Ellijay.

District 51 Senator Steve Gooch qualified and will face opposition this year from retiree John Williamson of Ellijay.

Cleveland Republican Roger Fitzpatrick filed to challenge Doug Collins for the 9th Congressional District seat.

County qualifying continues through noon on Friday at the Dawson County Board of Elections and Registration office on Maple Street in downtown Dawsonville.

Qualifying fees are 3 percent of the annual salary of each individual office.

 

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