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State races competitive; not local
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Several incumbent candidates who had no opposition when they qualified to run for re-election early last week do now. A number of challengers qualified late last week before qualifying ended April 30.
U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston, a Republican, is being challenged by Democrat Oscar L. Harris II, 53, of Screven. Harris is a retired farmer.
U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, a staunch conservative, is being challenged by two Democrats: R.J. Hadley and Georgia Commissioner of Labor Mike Thurmond.  
State Rep. Ron Stephens, District 164, faces Democratic challenger Zena McClain of Savannah. McClain, 40, is an attorney.
State Sen. Buddy Carter, a Republican, was elected last November after former state Sen. Eric Johnson resigned his District 1 seat in September to run for governor. Savannah businesswoman Carry Smith, 28, a Democrat, will oppose Carter.
There are a few exceptions to the state’s mostly contested races.
State Sen. Tommie Williams, R-Lyons, and Rep. Al Williams, D-Midway, are both running unopposed.
And State Rep. Terry Barnard, District 166, is not running for re-election. Republican Delvis Dutton of Glennville qualified last week to run for the seat. Dutton, 32, owns a well drilling company.
The governor’s race, already crowded with both Republicans and Democrats, got even more cramped when three Democratic candidates qualified late last week.
State Attorney General Thurbert Baker, Bill Bolton of Marietta and Randal Mangham of Decatur will face Roy Barnes, Carl Camon, DuBose Porter and David Poythress in July’s primary election.
The seven Republicans running for governor include Johnson, Jeff Chapman, Nathan Deal, Karen Handel, Ray McBerry, John Oxendine and Otis Putnam.
Other state races include lieutenant governor, secretary of state, attorney general, state school superintendent and commissioners of insurance, agriculture and labor.
In Liberty County, local elections appear to be more relaxed.
Incumbent county commissioners Marion Stevens Sr., District 1, Donald Lovette, District 2, and Connie Thrift, District 3, are running unopposed, Liberty County Supervisor of Elections Ella Golden said.
Golden said six local candidates paid a $10 qualifying fee to run for the Liberty County Democratic Executive Committee. Their names will appear on the July 20 primary ballot. The general election will be Nov. 2.
Newcomers Richard “Dicky” Braun is running for post 1 in District 1, and Luciria Lucky Lovette is running for post 3 in District 5.
Committee incumbents include Dorothy Lewis, running for re-election to post 3 in District 1; W. Renea Camper for post 1 in District 4; Ralph H. Dixon Sr. for post 3 in District 4; and Gary Burch, for post 3 in District 6.
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