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Six run for sheriff
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The Liberty County sheriff's race is guaranteed to continue into the fall after two Republican newcomers Friday jumped into what was a field of only Democrats looking to unseat incumbent Sheriff Don Martin.
Qualifying for this year's county partisan primaries closed at noon Friday and with just a few hours left on the clock, Republicans Mark Floyd and Richard White joined Democrats Jerald Burgess, Warren Waye and Jimmie T. Jones, as well as the longtime incumbent.
With Republican candidates now in the race, there will be two sheriff primary elections -- one Democrat, one Republican -- on July 15, setting the stage for a showdown between the two parties' candidates in November.
And since most of the county's incumbent officials got unchallenged rides back into office, the sheriff's race will more than likely be the most heavily battled local race in 2008.
The only other sitting officials facing competition are county commission Chairman John McIver, who is being challenged by former county commissioner Linda Graham, and District 4 Commissioner Pat Bowen, who will square off against Larry Boggs. All four candidates are Democrats.
One commission seat will change. Political newcomer Gary Gilliard, who was endorsed by outgoing Commissioner Kenny Fussell, qualified. Fussell chose not to run.
In stark contrast to the Democrat hold on local elected offices, the county's state-level delegation will remain solidly in Republican hands. Georgia Sens. Eric Johnson and Tommie Williams went unchallenged, as did House members Terry Barnard and Ron Stephens.
The county's only Democrat state legislator, Al Williams of Midway, also went uncontested.
The race for this area's U.S. House member drew one challenger, Bill Gillespie of Tybee Island to eight-term incumbent Republican Jack Kingston of Savannah.
The contest could make for good political theater as the pair has been locked in a war of words over everything from lapel pins to government spending since Gillespie announced his intention to run against Kingston in August.
Georgia's U.S. Senate race drew five Democrats, including DeKalb County Chief Executive Officer Vernon Jones and former state human resources commissioner Jim Martin, to battle it out to face-off against sitting Sen. Saxby Chambliss in November.
Here's the complete list of candidates who qualified for county, state and national races, in the order in which they qualified:
Jerald Burgess, Democrat
J. Don Martin (I), Democrat
Warren D. Waye, Democrat
Jimmie T. Jones, Democrat
Mark Floyd, Republican
Richard White, Republican

Probate Court Judge:
Nancy K. Aspinwall (I), Democrat

Superior Court Clerk:
F. Barry Wilkes (I), Democrat

Reginald L. Pierce Sr. (I), Democrat

Solicitor of State Court:

Jeffery N. Osteen (I), Democrat

Tax Commissioner:
Virgil M. Jones (I), Democrat

Chief Magistrate:
Melinda Anderson (I), Democrat

County Commissioner Chairperson, District 7:
John D. McIver (I), Democrat
Linda W. Graham, Democrat

County Commissioner District 4:
Pat Bowen (I), Democrat
Larry Boggs, Democrat

County Commissioner District 5:
Gary Gilliard, Democrat

County Commissioner District 6:
Eddie J. Walden (I), Democrat

Georgia House, District 164:
Ron Stephens (I), Republican

Georgia House, District 165:
Al Williams (I), Democrat

Georgia House, District 166:
Terry Barnard (I), Republican

Georgia Senate, District 1:
Eric Johnson (I), Republican

Georgia Senate, District 19:
Tommie Williams (I), Republican

U.S. House, District 1:
Jack Kingston (I), Republican
Bill Gillespie, Democrat

U.S. Senate:
Saxby Chambliss (I), Republican
Vernon Jones, Democrat
Dale Cardwell, Democrat
Rand Knight, Democrat
Josh Lanier, Democrat
Jim Martin, Democrat
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