Politics: In final minutes, Graves gets a Democratic opponent for Congress. Qualifying ends today at noon.

Politics: In final minutes, Graves gets a Democratic opponent for Congress. Qualifying ends today at noon.

This story has been updated with this file: https://wp.me/p2TrVL-CfZ



Quick notes

Stephen Lamar Foster, a Democrat from Dalton, has qualified to face Republican incumbent Tom Graves in the Nov. 6 general election.


By noon today, we’ll know what the May 22 primary looks like and most of the Nov. 6 general election ballot.


The final full day of qualifying begins at 9 a.m. with a three-hour session closing it out Friday (9 a.m.-noon).

Look for some hard decisions to be made today as a lot of “what ifs” continue to be asked over lunch at restaurants up and down Broad Street.

How it shapes up so far (and changes are expected today):

  • Unopposed: Nine incumbents in Northwest Georgia — from county commissioners to Congress — still have no primary and November opponents.
  • May 22 primary: Just two local races so far, the bid to replace Superior Court Judge Tami Colson (Emily Matson and Kay Ann Wetherington have qualified) and House District 16 as the incumbent retires in Bartow County (Matt Gambrill vs. Allan Levene. The statewide offices will feature primary opposition.
  • Nov. 6 general election:  Just five local posts so far, county commission to Congress, will feature contested races in November — again on the local side.


Stephanie Wright, a professor at Georgia Highlands, has qualified to run as a Democrat for the Post One seat on the Floyd County Commission. Barring no primary opponents on either side, she’ll face Republican incumbent Rhonda Wallace in the November general election.

State Senate: Evan Ross has qualified at the state as a Democrat to oppose Republican incumbent Sen. Chuck Hufstetler in the 52nd District (includes Floyd County). In Senate District 14, incumbent Republican Bruce Thompson is being challenged by Democrat Rachel Kinsey (includes part of Bartow County). Barring primary opposition, both races would appear on the November ballot.


Emily J. Matson qualified to run for the superior court judgeship Tami Colston will retire from in January, making official perhaps the top race of the primary season with Kay Ann Wetherington. Both candidates have seen contributions flow in rather quickly. So far, no talk of a third candidate in the race.

Democrat John Burnette II has qualified as a Democrat to challenge Republican Katie Dempsey for the state House 13 seat, representing Greater Rome. Burnette made it official Tuesday in Atlanta. Both candidates could draw primary opposition between now and Friday as well. If not, they would face off in the November general election.

In Cartersville, there will be a Republican primary for Paul Battles’ House District 15 seat. Allan Levene qualified Tuesday and will face Matt Gambill. 


Overview: Every incumbent in Floyd County and in the local legislative delegation qualified to seek a new term this year.

By Monday evening, three Floyd County commissioner, two county school board members, one sitting superior court judge and six state lawmakers qualified to seek new terms, first in the May 22 primary.

Only two names were excluded: Chief Superior Court Judge Tami Colston who’s not seeking a new term and state Rep. Paul Battles who also is retiring and the end of the year.

All qualified as Republicans with the exception of the judicial candidate (non-partisan). No Democrats had signed up through 5 p.m. Monday on the county or legislative level. However, U.S. Rep. Barry Loudermilk, a Republican, will face Democrat Flynn Broady Jr. in the November election (based on current qualifiers).

We do expect several Democratic candidates to qualify today.

Barge enters GOP primary for state school superintendent: John Barge, the Northwest Georgia educator who served four years as superintendent only to lose a primary bid for governor vs. Nathan Deal in 2014, is on the Republican ballot for his old job. So is incumbent Richard Woods and Democrat Sid Chapman.

Below is a list of candidates who have qualified for the following seats through 5 p.m. Monday; qualifying ends at noon Friday.


Post One

Rhonda Wallace, incumbent, Republican.

Stephanie Wright, Democrat. Wright says she’s most interested in building a bridge between various constituencies and leveraging the power of untapped local leadership.”

Post Four

Larry Maxey, incumbent, Republican.

Post Five

Scotty Hancock, incumbent, Republican


District 1 (Armuchee, Glenwood)

Chip Hood, incumbent, Republican

District 4 (Pepperell)

Tony Daniel, incumbent, Republican.


Sparks’ seat: William F. “Billy” Sparks, non-partisan (seeks full term after appointment)

Colston seat (retiring): Kay Ann Wetherington, non-partisan.

       Colston seat (retiring): Emily J. Matson, non-partisan: “Since announcing my intent to run last summer, my passion to serve in this position has only increased. As we are faced with increasing unconscionable human choices and chaos in our communities, I hope to serve as a solid leader and decision-maker in our local court.”


District 12: Eddie Lumsden, incumbent, Republican.

District 13: Katie Dempsey, incumbent, Republican.

District 13: John Burnette II, Democrat. “I want to be a genuine advocate for the citizens of Rome and Floyd County. It’s time for more common sense and less political gamesmanship at our state Capitol.”

District 14: Christian Coomer, incumbent, Republican.

District 15: Matthew Gambill, Republican (Paul Battles is not seeking a new term). Allan Levene, Republican.

District 16: Trey Kelley, incumbent, Republican.


District 52: Chuck Hufstetler, incumbent, Republican. Evan Ross, Democrat.

District 14: Bruce Thompson, incumbent, Republican. Rachel Kinsey, Democrat.

U.S. Congress

House District 11: Barry Loudermilk, incumbent, Republican, and Democrat Flynn Broady Jr. of Marietta.

House District 14: Tom Graves, incumbent, Republican. Stephen Lamar Foster, a Democrat from Dalton.


Republican candidate qualifying will take place at the offices of attorney David Guldenschuh, 512 E. First St., Rome, between now and noon Friday.

Democratic candidate qualifying will take place in the offices of Salter Law Firm, 242 N. Fifth Ave., Rome. Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. today; until noon Friday.

The calendar: The primary is May 22 this year with the runoff (if needed) set for July 24. The general election is Nov. 6. The local ballot this year features seats on the Floyd County Commission, School Board, superior court and the legislative delegation.



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