Democratic candidates for national, county and school board seats hobnobbed with supporters Thursday during a meet and greet event hosted by the Young Democrats of Liberty County and the Liberty County Democratic Committee at the La Quinta Inn in Flemington.
U.S. senatorial candidate Dr. Branko Radulovacki, known as “Dr. Rad,” made the drive to Hinesville from Atlanta to let voters know he qualified to run for the seat being vacated by Georgia’s long-time senior senator Saxby Chambliss. Chambliss announced last year he would not seek re-election. Qualifying began last Monday and ended at noon this past Friday.
Radulovacki, a psychiatrist, joins a crowded field of candidates that include fellow democrat Michelle Nunn, the daughter of former Sen. Sam Nunn, and Republican congressmen Jack Kingston, Paul Broun and Phil Gingrey.
Richmond Hill Realtor Amy Tavio attended the lively gathering, reminding voters she is running to fill the seat Kingston has held for 20 years. Tavio will face fellow democrats Brian Reese and Marc Anthony Smith in the May 20 primary. Republican candidates vying for the congressional seat include state Sen. Buddy Carter, former state Sen. Jeff Chapman, Dr. Bob Johnson, John McCallum and Darwin Carter.
Liberty County District 1 Commissioner Marion Stevens, Sr., who is running for re-election, attended the function. Stevens has two opponents, Horace Fleming, Sr., and Jack E. Waters. Fleming and Stevens introduced themselves during the meet and greet.
District 2 Commissioner Justin Frasier, who heads up the Young Democrats of Liberty County, facilitated the event. Frasier is running unopposed.
District 3 Commissioner Connie Thrift, who is also up for re-election, said a few words. Mike Arnold qualified this week to run against Thrift.
Liberty County Board of Education Chairman Lily Baker is running unopposed, as is District 4 school board member Marcia Anderson.
District 6 school board member Becky Carter did not qualify. Sampie W. Smith is the only candidate that qualified to run for the District 6 school board seat. Smith is a former county commissioner. He also ran for mayor of Hinesville in 2007 losing to Mayor Jim Thomas, now in his second term.
Marcus Scott, IV, a Chatham County high school assistant principal, and Lillie Readie Kelly both qualified to run for the District 5 school board seat. Incumbent school board member Harold Woods did not qualify to run for re-election.
A number of local elected officials not up for re-election attended the event to show support for the democratic process. These luminaries included Liberty County Sheriff Steve Sikes, Commission Chairman Donald Lovette, Clerk of Courts Barry Wilkes, County Coroner Reginald Pierce, Hinesville Mayor Jim Thomas, Hinesville Mayor Pro-Tem Charles Frasier, Hinesville City Council Member David Anderson, Midway Mayor Dr. Clemontine Washington, Midway Mayor Pro-Tem Levern Clancy, Jr., and Midway city council members Curtes Roberts, Sr. and Stanley Brown.