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State races heating up

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Posted: Friday, April 30, 2010 1:00 am

For two months, the race to succeed Rep. John Linder in Congress has raged. Now other races are heating up as well.

Tom Kirby, of Loganville, started it all by announcing his campaign even before Linder, R-Duluth, said he wouldn't run. After Linder's bombshell, state Rep. Clay Cox, R-Lilburn, emerged as the frontrunner. By far, he's done the best job in cranking up the fundraising machine.

For the first reporting period, which ended March 31, Cox drew $254,962. None of the other candidates reported raising money. Of course, it's still very early.

About a month ago, I asked state Rep. Jeff May if he would join the fray and run for Linder's seat. The Monroe Republican said he'd been asked about it and was flattered, but that he would seek fourth term in the General Assembly.

Those plans changed.

This week, May qualified to run for a seat on the Public Service Commission. John Douglas, a Newton County Republican whose district includes some of the Loganville area, also has announced a bid for the PSC job.

At least three people will be running for the open Senate seat. Republicans Ester Fleming Jr., of Oxford, and Rep. John Lunsford, of McDonough, will be running as will Democrats Nicholas P. Day, of Covington, and Jim Nichols, of Stockbridge.

Len Walker took time on the legislature's final day to file papers to run for re-election. The Loganville Republican is unopposed as of this writing.

Roy Roberts Sr. and Lee Rowell, both of Monroe, are running for May's seat.

State Sen. Don Balfour, R-Snellville, said last month not only would he not run for the Linder seat but he also was leaving the Gold Dome. However, he has since filed for re-election. Democrat Rashid Malik opposes him.

Sen. Renee S. Unterman, R-Buford, is seeking re-election in a district that includes Grayson and parts of Loganville in Gwinnett County. She was unopposed as of late Thursday afternoon.

Democrat Steffini Bethea and Warren Auld and former Snellville Mayor Brett Harrell, both Republicans, are running for the House seat now held by Rep. Melvin Everson, R-Snellville, who is running for labor commissioner.

The next-to-last morning of qualifying saw a flurry of additions. Now, it's time for a flurry of campaigning.

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