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10 races set for runoffs

LAWRENCEVILLE -- Campaign season continues, as Gwinnett voters must go back to the polls to determine nominees for governor, congress and commission.

A total of 10 races will return to ballots after Tuesday's election, in which only about 21 percent of Gwinnett's registered voters participated. Because no one achieved a majority in those races, the top two vote-getters will be on runoff ballots Aug. 10.

For governor, former Secretary of State Karen Handel will square off against former Congressman Nathan Deal for the GOP nod. Duluth man John Oxendine, the state's insurance commissioner, came in fourth.

The winner will face Democrat Roy Barnes, who won the Democratic primary outright Tuesday.

Rob Woodall was the top vote-getter in the Republican race to succeed U.S. Rep. John Linder as the 7th District congressman, but he didn't get enough support to avoid a runoff. He will be matched against Jody Hice, a former minister and radio personality.

Democrat Doug Heckman was unopposed in the primary.

Both local commission races are headed to runoffs. For the District 4 seat, the GOP nomination will be between John Heard and Tim Sullivan. The winner of the runoff will face Democrat John Kenney.

In the District 2 area, Lynette Howard and Keith Shewbert will square off for the GOP's spot against Democrat Robert Lee Byars.

Two legislative races must be decided in August -- the Republican bout between B.J. Pak and Linda Carsten for Lilburn-based House District 102 and the Democratic match-up between incumbent state Rep. Toney Collins and Pamela Dickerson for House District 95. Both will face opposition in November.

In addition to the top of the ticket, there are several statewide offices that require a return to the polls.

Democrats must decide between Gail Buckner and Georganna Sinkfield for secretary of state.

For the Republicans, runoffs include an attorney general's race between Sam Olens and Preston Smith, insurance commissioner bout between Ralph Hudgens and Maria Sheffield, and Public Service Commissioner spot between Tim Echols and John Douglas.