Qualifying for Coweta's elections endsBy SARAH FAY CAMPBELL
There will be a contested political race this summer for a local elected office many Cowetans might not even know exists — county surveyor.
Jason Turner qualified Friday as the second Republican candidate for the post, currently held by longtime Coweta County Surveyor John Christopher, who is not seeking re-election.
Partisan and non-partisan qualifying concluded at noon Friday for the local, state, and federal races to be determined in the July 31 primary and non-partisan election, and for the Nov. 6 general election.
Qualifying for independent and “political body” candidates will be held July 30 through Aug. 3.
June 1 is the last day for someone to file a notice of intent to run as a write-in candidate for a non-partisan office. A notice of candidacy must be published in The Newnan Times-Herald by that date, and the candidate must bring a publisher’s affidavit to the elections superintendent. Write-in candidates for the general election have until Sept. 3. There are no write-ins for a primary, according to Elections Superintendent Jane Scoggins.
Unless write-in or independent candidates come forward, there are only three local incumbents facing opposition: Coweta County Commissioner Al Smith, Congressman Lynn Westmoreland and State Rep. Carl Von Epps.
Smith, a Democrat who represents the county’s Fifth District, is being challenged by Republican Hayden Marlowe.
Westmoreland, a Coweta resident who represents Georgia’s third congressional district, is being challenged in the Republican primary by Kent Kingsley of Milner and Chip Flanegan of Jonesboro.
Von Epps, a Democrat from LaGrange, represents House District 132. Following redistricting last year, the district now covers the southwestern portion of Coweta County. Von Epps is being challenged by Republican Gene King of Gay.
There will be two other contested races for open seats: the Georgia House of Representatives District 71 seat currently held Billy Horne, and the Coweta Superior Court Judgeship currently held by Allen Keeble. Both Horne and Keeble had previously announced they did not intend to seek re-election.
Darryl Marmon and Robert Stokely have qualified as Republicans for Horne’s seat.
Local attorneys Emory Palmer and Kevin McMurry are running for Keeble’s seat.
Keeble’s seat is not the only vacancy on the Coweta Judicial Circuit, but it will be the only one to be filled by an election.
Gov. Nathan Deal will be appointing someone to fill the seat on the bench vacated by William F. Lee Jr., who retired following an investigation by the Judicial Qualifications Commission. McMurry, Palmer, and many others are on the list of nominees for Lee’s seat on the bench.
There’s a possibility of another vacancy in the Coweta Circuit.
Judge Dennis Blackmon is a nominee to fill a seat on the Georgia Supreme Court. If Blackmon is appointed to the Supreme Court, the governor will appoint someone to fill his Superior Court judgeship.
Also leaving office at the end of the year will be Coweta Coroner Ray Yeager, and Solicitor General Robert Stokely, who is running for State House.
Yeager’s assistant, Richard Hawk, is the only candidate to qualify for the coroner’s post.
And Stokely’s assistant solicitor, Sandy Wisenbaker, is the only candidate to qualify for the solicitor’s post.
The following local elected officials picked up no opposition: County Commissioners Rodney Brooks - fourth district Republican, and Paul Poole - first district Republican; Coweta Board of Education members Frank Farmer, Sue Brown and Winston Dowdell; State Representatives Lynn Smith, R-Newnan, and Matt Ramsey, R-Peachtree City; State Senator Mike Crane, R-Newnan; Sheriff Mike Yeager; Superior Court Clerk Cindy Brown; Tax Commissioner Tommy Ferrell; Chief Magistrate Jim Stripling; State Court Chief Judge John Herbert Cranford; Probate Judge Mary Cranford; Coweta Judicial Circuit District Attorney Pete Skandalakis; and Coweta Circuit Superior Court judges Dennis Blackmon, Qullian Baldwin, Jack Kirby and John Simpson.