Candidates qualify in 6 local cities

LAWRENCEVILLE - Contested mayoral races are set in Dacula, Grayson and Braselton.

In fact, six of the seven cities where candidate qualifying periods wrapped up Wednesday will have contested races Nov. 3.

In Dacula, Mayor Jimmy Wilbanks will face a challenge from Betty Hale, whose husband used to sit on the city council. While Councilman Wendell Holcombe is unopposed, Councilman Gregory Reeves is being challenged by Gene Gresson, a former councilman who was ousted during the last election.

In Duluth, incumbents Marsha Anderson Bomar and Jim Dugan did not draw competition, but candidates have entered a three-person race to succeed Jim Hall, who is not seeking re-election. In that race, George Rhode, Billy Jones and Elise Whitworth will square off.

In Grayson, Mayor Jim Hinkle faces a challenger for the first time, as he seeks his fifth term. Damon Ladd-Thomas has qualified to run against him, although Councilmembers Allison Rooks and Marcus Hinton are unopposed.

In Loganville, incumbents Wendell Geiger, Jerry Price and Pedro Vega will be joined on the ballot by Danny Curry.

Suwanee Councilman Dan Foster is unopposed, but two other incumbents face challenges. Kevin McOmber will square off against Don Trawick for Post 3, and Jace Brooks will face Bradley William Alexander for Post 4.

With Braselton Mayor Pat Graham seeking a state Senate seat, two men are seeking to replace her: Ralph Richardson Jr. and Bill Orr. Councilman Dudley Ray is unopposed, but three people are vying to replace Richardson on the town council. Those are Bill Greene, Peggy Slappey and Jeremy Britt.

In Buford, the final city to close its qualifying period Wednesday, only the incumbents qualified for office. That means new terms will go to Chris Burge and Michael Smith on the city commission and to Bruce Fricks and Pat Pirkle on the city school board.

The qualifying period continues in other cities in Gwinnett and Barrow counties. Candidates have until 4:30 today to complete paperwork in Berkeley Lake and Carl, with the remainder allowing paperwork to be filed Friday.