Candidates line up to qualify for elections

LAWRENCEVILLE -- Candidates have been quick to sign up for state offices during the weeklong qualifying period beginning Monday.

But few names have been filed for local office.

So far, the most popular local race has been the District 4 congressional seat, where incumbent Hank Johnson is challenged by fellow Democrats Vernon Jones and Connie Stokes and by Republicans Liz Carter and Larry Gause.

John Linder's 7th District seat drew three Republicans during the first day of qualifying -- state Rep. Clay Cox, Norcross accountant Tom Parrott and Lawrenceville retiree Ronnie Grist.

Sugar Hill Rep. Bobby Reese entered the 9th Congressional District race, along with Bill Stephens and Lee Hawkins.

So far, none of Gwinnett's incumbent senators have competitors, as Sens. Curt Thompson, Don Balfour, Steve Henson, Renee Unterman, David Shafer and Gloria Butler qualified Monday.

Dunwoody's Dan Weber, whose 40th District includes Peachtree Corners, did not qualify Monday, but two other Republicans did: Fran Millar and James Sibold.

In the House, District 88 incumbent Billy Mitchell will be joined on the ballot by Democrat Simone Joye. District 95 incumbent Toney Collins did not qualify Monday, but two challengers did: Republican Rodney Upton and Democrat Pam Dickerson.

Incumbents filing paperwork included Brooks Coleman, Hugh Floyd, Brian Thomas, David Casas and Donna Sheldon.

Josh Clark qualified for the District 98 seat Reese is leaving behind, while former Snellville Mayor Brett Harrell filed paperwork to run for District 106, where incumbent Melvin Everson is expected to seek Labor Commissioner.

The only hotly contested race so far is for Cox's House District 102, which Republicans Steve Allen, Linda Carsten and Keith Royal all qualified for Monday.

For local office, Republicans Solicitor Rosanna Szabo and School Board member Bob McClure filed paperwork to seek new terms.

Also at the Lawrenceville GOP headquarters, former Norcross Councilman Keith Shewbert qualified for the Commission District 2 race and former Rep. John Heard and retiree Ron Silver signed up for the battle for District 4.

No Democrats filed with the local office Monday.

The qualifying period concludes at noon Friday.