Candidates will qualify March 5-9 for Georgia’s May 22 election, which includes both the party primaries and the general election for nonpartisan offices.
In Bulloch County, four Board of Education seats, which are nonpartisan, and three Board of Commissioners seats, for which candidates generally run as Democrats or Republicans, are up for election. Up the ballot, state offices ranging from governor to all seats in the General Assembly are available, as is a single federal office in this area, the 12th District congressional seat held by U.S. Rep. Rick Allen.
For the state and federal offices, candidates planning to run as Republicans or Democrats will qualify with officials of the state party organizations inside the State Capitol in Atlanta between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday, March 5 through Thursday, March 8, and 9 a.m. until noon Friday, March 9. Candidates for nonpartisan state offices, such as judgeships, will qualify with the Elections Division of the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office, also in Atlanta.
But for Bulloch County Board of Commissioners and Board of Education, candidates will qualify with Election Supervisor Patricia Lanier Jones in the Board of Elections and Registration office at the County Annex, 113 North Main St.
“We’re gearing up for it now, and if anybody wants to run for local office, we encourage them to come and talk to me to make sure we get them set up with proper paperwork and everything filed,” Jones said Tuesday.
A declaration of intent is required before candidates accept campaign contributions, she noted. That requirement does not wait of qualifying week, and further reporting is required through the election season for candidates who receive more than a small amount of contributions.
Meanwhile, for residents not already registered to vote or who have moved, the last day to register is April 24 to be eligible to vote in the May 22 election.
7 local seats
Bulloch County’s commissioners are elected at-large within each of two large districts. The seats due for election this year are 1B, held by Anthony Simmons, a Democrat; 2B, held by Walter Gibson, a Republican; and 2D, held by Robert Rushing, a Republican.
But the Board of Education has eight members elected from separate districts. Due for election in 2018 are the seats for District 2, held by Mike Sparks; District 4, held by Steve Hein; District 5, held by Glennera Martin; and District 6, where Jimmy “Jay” Cook Jr. is the incumbent.
Because school board seats are nonpartisan, they will be decided with the May 22 ballot or a July 24 runoff. But county commissioners can choose political parties, so the commission candidates who win the May 22 primaries or a July 24 party runoff will advance to the Nov. 6 general election, where a contest between two party nominees or including an independent candidate is possible.
A countywide referendum is also expected on the May 22 ballot. This is the proposal for a Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax, an additional 1 percent tax.
The T-SPLOST resolution will be on the commissioners’ agenda for approval Tuesday, said County Manager Tom Couch. Their request to place the referendum on the ballot will then go to the Board of Elections.
Statewide offices due for election to four-year terms are governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, attorney general, agriculture commissioner, insurance commissioner, state school superintendent and labor commissioner.
With two-year terms, all 56 seats in the Georgia Senate and all 180 seats in the Georgia House of Representatives are up for election. The incumbents representing Bulloch County are Sen. Jack Hill, R-Reidsville; Rep. Jon G. Burns, R-Newington; Rep. Jan Tankersley, R-Brooklet; and Rep. Butch Parrish, R-Swainsboro.
Some state officials with six-year terms are also up for election. These include five of the nine Georgia Supreme Court justices and six of the 15 judges on the Georgia Court of Appeals, plus two seats on the Public Service Commission.
Unlike the nonpartisan judges, PSC members usually run as Democrats or Republicans. The seats due are PSC District 3, held by Chuck Eaton, a Republican from Atlanta, and District 5, currently held by Stan Wise, a Republican from Cobb County. Wise, the outgoing chairman, has announced he will resign from the PSC in February.
Although they represent districts, PSC members are elected statewide.
Herald reporter Al Hackle may be reached at (912) 489-9458.