Local candidates ready for runoff election

LILBURN -- Local house primaries still need to be sorted out even as voters plan to end high-profile statewide primaries on Tuesday.

Two districts encompassing parts of Gwinnett will be on ballots including the Republican primary in District 102 covering Lilburn and the Democratic primary in District 95 covering parts of Snellville.

The campaigns have been on overdrive because candidates worry about the low voter turnout in run-offs and hope to buck the trend.

Here's a closer look at the races:

District 102

Two political newcomers are boasting conservative credentials to capture the Republican nomination for Clay Cox's former Lilburn House seat.

Attorney B.J. Pak, a certified public accountant and former federal prosecutor, received the most votes in the July 20 primary and has the endorsements of both candidates who failed to advance. Pak is running as a limited-government constitutionalist with an emphasis on renewing trust in public officials. He pointed to his experience prosecuting corruption and promised to limit himself to three terms if elected.

"I want an environment where everybody has the best practices to avoid the appearance of impropriety," Pak said. "The key is disclosure -- to share all transactions and let the voters judge for themselves."

Linda Carsten, a realtor and restaurant owner, is running as a small business owner who understands the struggles of running a business first hand.

"I've been in my district for 30 years. I've been involved in my community, and I've been a vital part of it," said Carsten, who has served on numerous boards.

Both candidates indicated improving the job market and curbing undocumented immigration in Georgia as top priorities. Carsten criticized her opponent for publicly opposing the Arizona immigration bill, which Pak denies.

The winner will face Democrat Porter Deal in the general election.

District 95

Flight attendant and business owner Pam Dickerson is trying once more to unseat Democratic freshman legislator Toney Collins after finishing a close second in the July 20 primary.

Dickerson picked up the endorsement of Andrea "Andre" Cooper, the primary's third-place candidate. The two political newcomers and former opponents now campaign together to bring jobs and improve public safety.

Dickerson says she is the better pick because she will be more involved in her district than her opponent.

"I plan to be accountable, responsible and available. I plan to be out in the community at community affairs and meet with leadership to try and get a lot accomplished," Dickerson said.

Collins stresses his political experience and results. He authored 15 bills, including one that would let Georgians donate their tax refund for medical research. It was passed by both the House and Senate but vetoed by Gov. Sonny Purdue. Health care is Collins' top issue.

"You need a healthy body in order to go to work or go to school -- to do the things that are needed for a strong economy," he said.

District 95 encompasses parts of Newton, Rockdale and Gwinnett County. The winner will face Republican Rodney Upton in the general election.