Qualifying for elections opens today

Candidate qualifying for 13 Augusta-Richmond County elected offices and numerous other local, state and federal offices begins Monday.

In Augusta, the doors open at 9 a.m. for candidates for mayor, five Augusta Commission seats, five Richmond County school board members and two state court judgeships to swear they are qualified to hold the office and pay a fee to be on the ballot, Richmond County Board of Elections Executive Director Lynn Bailey said.

Because of changes made by the legislature, the mayor, commission and judge candidates will be on the May 20 general election ballot instead of Nov. 4. The school board contestants won’t be included on a ballot until Nov. 4.

Already, six candidates have filed notices of their intent to seek contributions in the race to replace Mayor Deke Copenhaver, who is term-limited. Those candidates are former Augusta Commission member Matt Aitken, businesswoman Helen Blocker-Adams, businessman Charles Cummings, Sen. Hardie Davis, Augusta Commission member Alvin Mason and high school teacher Lori Myles.

Each still must file qualifying papers and pay a $1,950 fee to appear on the May 20 ballot.

In the commission District 2 seat held by term-limited Corey Johnson, two candidates – pastor Cleveland Garrison and Veterans Administration retiree Dennis Williams, have already started raising funds.

Three people – Rev. Melvin Ivey, retired Army Master Sgt. Sammie Sias and college instructor Gwendolyn Watts – have announced plans to run for Mason’s District 4 commission seat.

In commission District 6, four candidates – former county employee Roger Garvin, Fort Gordon employee Bob Finnegan, journalist Ben Hasan and pastor Angela Harden – are already campaigning for term-limited Commissioner Joe Jackson’s seat.

Incumbent Wayne Guilfoyle is so far the only candidate running for Commission District 8, while incumbent Grady Smith and attorney Brandon Dial are already campaigning for the Super District 10 commission seat.

The qualifying fee to run for commission is $300.

The two incumbent Richmond County State Court Judges, Richard Slaby and David Watkins, have expressed interest in retaining their judgeships May 20. Qualifying to run for state court judge is $4,462.23 or $4,354.23, depending on the seat.

So far only one Richmond County Board of Education post is contested, the District 2 seat held by Eloise Curtis. She is being challenged by Frank Beckles and Monique Braswell.

The remaining incumbent school board members from districts 3, 6, 7 and 9 – Alex Howard, Jack Padgett, Frank Dolan and Venus Cain – have no known opposition at this time.

Qualifying continues through business hours Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, and until noon Friday at the Board of Elections office at Augusta Municipal Building, 530 Greene St.

The week doubles as the qualifying period for the May 20 state and federal party primaries, including several Augusta state House and Senate seats, but Democrat or Republican candidates for those offices qualify with the Georgia Secretary of State’s office in Atlanta.

Qualifying for partisan seats on the Columbia County Commission also is this week.

12th District candidate's financial problems ongoing
Candidate qualifying for county election begins Monday
2 more candidates enter District 6 Augusta Commission race
Senate candidate campaigns in Augusta on veteran benefits, health care
Numerous choices for voters on May 20

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