Local legislators pick up challengers
by Sarah Fay Campbell
There will be two contested races for state legislators who represent Coweta, following the first day of political qualifying Monday.
Qualifying continues from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, and 8:30 a.m. to noon on Friday.
Democrat Cynthia Bennett of Newnan is challenging incumbent Republican Senator Mike Crane, also of Newnan, who represents Senate District 28. The district covers all of Coweta and Heard counties, and parts of Troup and Carroll counties.
Bennett ran for the District 28 Georgia Senate seat in 2011, in the special election to replace Mitch Seabaugh. Crane was the winner of the special election. Bennett also ran last year in the special election to fill the House seat vacated by District 71 Rep. Robert Stokely. That election was won by David Stover, R-Palmetto.
Republican Gene King of Meriwether County is challenging incumbent Democratic State Rep. Carl Von Epps of LaGrange. Von Epps’ District 132 was re-drawn in 2012 and now covers a the southwestern quadrant of Coweta County. King has challenged Von Epps before, including two years ago.
Several local incumbents qualified Monday, including Coweta County Commissioners Tim Lassetter of the Second District and Bob Blackburn of the Third District, Coweta County Board of Education Members Harry Mullins and Graylin Ward, U.S. Congressman Lynn Westmoreland (R-Ga. 3rd District) and State Court Judge Seay Van Patton Poulakos.
Mullins represents District Three and Ward represents District Four on the board of education. Two other school board posts are up this year: District One At Large, held by Larry Robertson, and District One held by Amy Dees.
Many state offices are also up, and several candidates qualified for reelection Monday including Republicans Gov. Nathan Deal, congressmen Jack Kingston of Savannah, Phil Gingrey of Marietta and Paul Broun of Athens and former Secretary of State Karen Handel for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Saxby Chambliss, Allen Fort and Fitz Johnson for superintendent of schools, and incumbent Public Service Commissioners Doug Everett and Lauren "Bubba” McDonald.
Democrats qualifying for state office Monday include Branko Radulovacki and Todd Robinson for U.S. Senate, Connie Stokes for lieutenant governor, Liz Johnson and former State Rep. Keith Heard for insurance commissioner, and Robbin Shipp of Atlanta for labor commissioner.