Originally created 04/28/04

Hopefuls continue to stream to the Capitol

ATLANTA - Georgia residents hoping to represent their hometowns in both state and federal government continued streaming to the Capitol on Tuesday to place their names on the primary election ballots.

All 236 spots in the state House and Senate are up for re-election this year. A combination of legislator retirements and a new set of political district lines have brought out multiple candidates in many races.

By the end of the day, state Sen. Randy Hall, R-Augusta, had his first official Democratic challenger for the new Senate District 23: J.B. Powell, a 42-year-old project manager from Blythe.

Although Mr. Hall is an incumbent, the newly drawn district - crafted by a federal court in March - places him in mostly unfamiliar turf. Mr. Hall, a 45-year-old attorney, was elected in 2002 to represent a district based mostly in the urban areas of Augusta.

However, the new District 23 is a more rural district, stretching from the western side of Richmond County through Jefferson, Burke, Washington, Jenkins and Screven counties and parts of Wilkinson and Emanuel counties.

Incumbent District 3 Augusta Commissioner Barbara Sims has qualified to run to retain the seat in the November election. Mrs. Sims was appointed to fill the vacancy created when former Commissioner Stephen Shepard stepped down in January to become city attorney.

Augusta Realtor David Moretz has also qualified to run for the District 3 seat.

Richmond County Coroner Grover Tuten qualified Tuesday with the local Democratic Party to run for a four-year term, party Chairman Lowell Greenbaum said.

Mr. Tuten was appointed interim coroner after the death of Coroner Leroy Sims in November and then won the seat for the rest of this year in a special election during the March 2 presidential primary.

Mr. Tuten served as the county's deputy coroner for 26 years. Also qualifying Tuesday were two Democratic candidates for the 12th U.S. Congressional District, currently represented by Rep. Max Burns, R-Sylvania.

Athens-Clarke County Commissioner John Barrow and former State Sen. Doug Haines, of Athens, both dropped by the Capitol to pay the $4,671 fee to place their names on the ballot. They are expected to be joined later this week by two other candidates - Savannah attorney Tony Center and Savannah lobbyist Caine Cortellino. The 12th District stretches from Athens in the north to Augusta and Savannah in the east and south.

Mr. Burns qualified for re-election Monday.

The question still hanging over the Capitol on Tuesday night was whether self-made millionaire and Waycross native Cliff Oxford would enter the Democratic primary race to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Zell Miller.

The founder and former head of STI Knowledge, a technology support service, is said to be seriously considering a bid for Mr. Miller's seat.

Staff Writer Sylvia Cooper contributed to this article.


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