MONROE, Ga. — Several of Walton County’s top incumbents are seeking another term.
Four officials in countywide positions qualified Monday, the first day they could do so. Also signing up to run again were both of Walton County’s representatives in the state House and two candidates for an open seat on the Superior Court bench.
Probate Judge Bruce E. Wright, Superior Court Clerk Karen David, Tax Commissioner Derry M. Boyd and Chief Magistrate Mike Burke — all Republicans — qualified Monday.
So did David Thompson, who announced his bid to be chairman of the county Board of Commissioners a year and a half ago. Chairman Kevin Little said he won’t seek a sixth term this year.
District 2 Commissioner Mark C. Banks, a Republican of Loganville, qualified to run for reelection.
Alcovy Circuit Superior Court races, typically the picture of calm for Newton and Walton counties, were scrambled by the retirements of Judges Eugene Benton and Samuel D. Ozburn.
Ozburn’s plans to retire at the end of April further complicated the political calculus, as it meant the governor will choose the judge in that seat, and the election is kicked to 2022.
Also, Judge Horace J. Johnson Jr. is expected to run for reelection rather than pursue a seat on the state Supreme Court. That race too was kicked back two years as Justice Robert Benham retired early, with Gov. Brian Kemp expected to pick Benham’s successor soon.
Monroe attorney Jeff Foster and Flint Judicial Circuit Chief Assistant District Attorney Chevada McCamy, a Social Circle native who lives in Covington, qualified for the seat now held by Benton.
McCamy previously planned to run for Johnson’s seat, but changed when it appeared this would be the only open seat in the current election cycle.
She said her more than 20 years of experience as a prosecutor set her apart.
“I believe that I have experience and I know how to run a courtroom efficiently and fairly,” she said.
Foster said he was the first to qualify for the seat and said he was excited to do so.
“I have been presented with a unique set of opportunities and experiences over the last 28 years that have made me uniquely qualified for judge of Superior Court,” he said in a statement Monday. “There is no other candidate that has had offices in both counties; no other candidate has a similar breadth of courtroom experiences in different roles with hundreds if not over a thousand hearings and bench trials and several dozen jury trials, nor the extensive time in court dealing with both criminal cases and domestic relations cases, which account for approximately 80% of all cases in the Superior Courts of this circuit.”
Covington attorney Robert H. “Bob” Stansfield previously announced he too is a candidate for the seat now held by Benton.
Thirteen people have been nominated, or nominated themselves, for the seat now held by Benton. District Attorney Layla Zon of Covington announced she was a candidate for the seat before Benton decided to retire before the end of the term, and said she would apply for the governor’s consideration.
Zon’s chief assistant district attorney, Randy McGinley, qualified Monday to run for district attorney as a Republican.
U.S. Rep. Jody Hice qualified to run for a fourth term. The Republican from Greensboro represents Walton County and a broad swath of north and east Georgia. Andrew Ferguson was the only Democrat to get in the race so far.
An already bruising Senate race got underway with both incumbent Kelly Loeffler and challenger Doug Collins qualifying.
Kemp chose Loeffler, an Atlanta businesswoman, for the Senate seat when Johnny Isakson retired at the end of 2019. That’s despite President Donald Trump’s preference for Collins, a Republican congressman from Gainesville.
A rare “jungle primary” format will choose the person to fill out the last two years of Isakson’s term.
Sen. David Perdue, a Republican from Warner Robins, also qualified Monday as he seeks a second six-year term.
In the General Assembly, Reps. Tom Kirby, R-Loganville, and Bruce Williamson, R-Monroe, qualified to run for reelection Monday. Both were unopposed as of the end of the day.
State Sen. Bill Cowsert, R-Athens, drew opposition from law school student Zachary Perry, a Democrat, in the District 46 race that includes all or parts of Clarke, Oconee and Walton counties.
In District 3 on the county Board of Commissioners, Wesley Jackson of Jersey qualified Monday for the GOP primary. Commissioner Timmy Shelnutt, a Republican, is expected to seek reelection.
In District 6, James M. “Jim” Robertson of Monroe qualified for the Republican primary. Incumbent Kirklyn W. Dixon, reelected four years ago as an independent, is expected to qualify this week.
Three of the four county school board incumbents whose seats are up for election this year qualified Monday: Diane Moon Turner of Loganville (District 3), Coleman A. Landers of Monroe (District 4) and David Breedlove of Monroe (District 7). All are Republicans.
Loganville Mayor Rey Martinez caused some stir by appearing at the Capitol, where qualifying for state offices began Monday. But he said it was to show support for top Republicans.
“I’m here to support our two Georgia senators as they are here qualifying,” he said.
Martinez is a co-chairman for Loeffler’s campaign and he stood in the front row behind Perdue at a news conference in the Capitol.
Qualifying continues until noon Friday.