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Nearly half of primary candidates run unopposed

LAWRENCEVILLE - For nearly half of the more than 40 unopposed incumbents appearing in the July 18 primary, the race is already won.

The list of candidates already stamping their ticket for another term is long and varied: Georgia Sens. Curt Thompson, Don Balfour, Renee Unterman, David Shafer; state Reps. Tom Rice, Billy Mitchell, Brooks Coleman, Hugh Floyd, Brian Thomas, Mike Coan, David Casas, Donna Sheldon, Len Walker, Terry England; Gwinnett County Commissioner Bert Nasuti, Barrow County Commissioners Isiah Berry, Connie Wehunt and Mark Still; and Gwinnett Board of Education member Dan Seckinger.

So what does a de facto winner do as the primary approaches?

"Some still like to campaign," said Republican and Gwinnett-based political consultant Mark Rountree. "Many, though, simply stand down. They may go to an occasional political forum. For most, these are the good times."

Even so, some unopposed candidates have only their party's nomination, not the election, wrapped up. For them, the primary is a chance to keep getting their message across to voters as the candidates wait to find out their November opponent.

In one noteworthy local race, unopposed Democrat John Kenney will face one of three Republicans - incumbent Kevin Kenerly, Butch Poss or Jodie Elizabeth Rosser - for the District 4 Board of Commissioners seat.

Kenney and the other challengers are trying to unseat Gwinnett's longest serving county commissioner in Kenerly.

A brief look at the rest of the unopposed candidates in the upcoming primary and their possible challengers in November:

County offices

•Gwinnett Board of Commissioners District 2:

Nasuti, the Peachtree Corners Republican, faces no Democratic opponent in the November election.

•Barrow County Board of Commissioners:

District 4 Republican Berry has no opponent in November.

•Gwinnett County Board of Education:

Democrat Gladys Harris, a 40-year-old mother of three and founder of Parents Against Student Injustices in Schools, faces District 4 Republican incumbent Robert McClure, a dermatologist and more than decade-long veteran of the school board.

District 2 Incumbent Republican Seckinger faces no opponent in the November election.

•Barrow County Board of Education:

District 4 Republican Wehunt and District 9 Republican Still have no challengers in November.

Georgia Senate

• District 5

Thompson, the Gwinnett County Democrat, faces no opposition in the November election. The 38-year-old senator has been active in forming Gwinnett Village, the new community improvement district in the Jimmy Carter Boulevard area of Norcross.

• District 9

Sen. Balfour of Snellville, a 12-year veteran of the state senate, faces no opposition in the November election. The Republican is chairman of the Rules Committee.

• District 40

Democrat Aimee Rydarowski opposes incumbent Republican Dan Weber in the November.

• District 41

Democratic incumbent Steven Henson faces Republican challenger Frank Auman in November.

• District 45

Republican incumbent Renee Unterman faces no opposition in November. Unterman is chairwoman of the Senate Ethics Committee.

• District 47

Democratic challenger Mac Rawson faces Republican incumbent Ralph Hudgens in November.

• District 48

Republican incumbent Shafer faces no opponent in November. Shafer is chairman of the Regulated Industries and Utilities Committee.

Georgia House

•District 31

Democratic challenger Tommy Stephenson faces incumbent Republican Tommy Benton in November.

• District 51

Republican incumbent Rice, elected to the House in 1997, faces no opposition in November.

•District 88

Democrat incumbent Mitchell, who won a House seat in 2003, faces no opposition in November.

•District 95

Democrat George Wilson will face either Republican incumbent Robert Mumford or Republican challenger Steve Perry in November.

•District 97

Republican incumbent Coleman, elected to the House in 1993, faces no opposition in November. He is chairman of the Education Committee.

•District 99

Democratic incumbent Floyd is serving his first term in the House. He faces no opposition in November.

•District 100

Democratic incumbent Thomas is serving his freshman term in the House. He faces no opposition in November.

•District 101

Incumbent Republican Coan is chairman of the House Industrial Relations Committee. He does not face an opponent in the November election.

•District 103

Incumbent Republican Casas is serving his second term as a member of the General Assembly. The vice chairman of the Economic Development and Tourism Committee faces no opposition in November.

•District 105

Republican incumbent Sheldon is vice chairwoman of the Human Relations and Aging committee. She has no opponent in the November election.

•District 106

Democratic challenger Tony Lentini faces Republican incumbent Melvin Everson in November.

•District 107

Republican incumbent Walker is chairman of the Human Relations and Aging Committee. He faces no opposition in November.

•District 108

Republican incumbent England, secretary of the Industrial Relations Committee, faces no opponent in November.

U.S. Congress

• District 4

Republican Catherine Davis will face Democrat John Coyne III, Democrat Hank Johnson or incumbent Democrat Cynthia McKinney in November.

•District 7

Republican incumbent John Linder faces Democratic challenger Allan Burns in the November election.

State offices

•Attorney general

Incumbent Democrat Thurbert Baker faces Republican challenger Perry McGuire in November.

•School superintendent

Republican incumbent Kathy Cox will face one of three Democrats in November: Carlotta Harrell, Denise Majette or Danny J. Carter.

• Insurance commissioner

Republican incumbent John Oxendine faces Democrat Guy Drexinger in the November election.

• Agriculture commissioner

Democratic incumbent Tommy Irvin faces one of four possible Republicans in November: Gary Black, Bob Greer, Brian Kemp or Deanna Strickland.

• Labor commissioner

Democratic incumbent Mike Thurmond faces either Republican Brent Brown or Republican Chuck Scheid in November.

Public Service Commission

• District 3 Metro Atlanta

Democratic incumbent David Burgess faces one of two Republican challengers in November: Chuck Eatan or Mark Parkman in November.

• District 5-Western

Democrat Dawn Randolph faces either Republican incumbent Stan Wise or Republican Newt Nickell in November.