Local primary races now in the hands of voters

Photo by Brian Giandelone

Photo by Brian Giandelone

CONYERS -- Months of campaigning end tonight as voters across Georgia will cast ballots in the Republican and Democratic primaries and choose who will continue on to the Nov. 2 general election.

A total of 2,658 votes were cast in-person at the Rockdale County Board of Elections and Voter Registration office as of Friday, the last day of early voting; 1,733 of those were Republican ballots and 925 were Democrat.

In addition, 271 ballots have been cast by mail. Of those, 161 were Republican, 109 were Democrat and one was nonpartisan.

The early and absentee voting totals amount to 5.42 percent of Rockdale County's registered voters for today's primary election.

Election officials noted the early voting period, which began June 7 with in-person absentee ballot voting, has been light. Of note, 519 voters cast a ballot in person on Friday.

It was the same story across the state. The Elections Division of the Georgia Secretary of State's office reported 3.75 percent of Georgia voters took advantage of early voting, excluding mail-in ballots. There were 185,062 in-person ballots cast across the state and 211,919 mail-in ballots sent out, according to Matt Carrothers, a spokesman with the Secretary of State's office.

The primary takes place today, with polls open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tabulation of votes will begin after the polls close at the Board of Elections office, located at the county government Annex Building, 1400 Parker Road, Lobby C. The public is invited to observe the vote tabulation.

Local elections on the ballot include the Democratic primary race for the Board of Commissioners Post 2 seat between Courtney Dilliard, a real estate developer, and Caycie Dix, a local attorney. The winner will face incumbent Commissioner JaNice Van Ness, who is running unopposed in the Republican primary election.

Two incumbent legislators are facing challenges in their party primaries. Rep. Hank Johnson is facing former DeKalb County CEO Vernon Jones and current DeKalb County Commissioner Connie Stokes in the Democratic primary election for the 4th Congressional District seat, which represents DeKalb, Rockdale and portions of Gwinnett counties.

Four Republicans are running for Johnson's seat and the chance to face the Democratic nominee in November. Business consultant Liz Carter, publishing executive Victor Armendariz, IT management consultant Cory Ruth and property manager Larry Gause are running in the Republican Primary for Congress.

The other incumbent with in-party challengers is Toney Collins, who represents parts of Gwinnett, Rockdale and Newton counties in the 95th Georgia House District. Collins, a Democrat from Conyers, is running against Andre Cooper, an investigator with the Newton County Public Defender's office, and Pam Dickerson, an airline flight attendant from Conyers.

The winner will face Republican Rodney Upton of Conyers in the general election.

Four Democrats and one Republican are seeking to succeed Rep. Randall Mangham in the 94th Georgia House District that includes portions of DeKalb and Rockdale counties. Mangham left the seat to run for governor.

The Democratic candidates include Conyers attorney Sherri Washington, Lithonia attorney Dar'shun Kendrick, IT developer Andrew Bostic and Rhonda Peek, who is listed as self-employed. Steven Conner, another Conyers attorney, is running unopposed in the Republican primary.

In the Georgia 17th Senate District, three Republicans -- Ester Fleming Jr., Todd Hilton and Rick Jeffares -- and two Democrats -- Nicholas Day and Jim Nichols -- are running to succeed Sen. John Douglas, who left the Georgia Senate this year to run for a seat on the Georgia Public Service Commission.

Also, Rockdale County voters will decide on a proposed $75 million special purpose local option sales tax referendum that would fund various capital improvement projects including roads, parks, senior services, public safety, water and projects of the city of Conyers.