Candidates vie for mayor in Snellville, Lilburn, Suwanee

LAWRENCEVILLE -- Mayoral races will be decided in November in Snellville, Lilburn and Suwanee.

After last week's qualifying period, mayors will return in Duluth, Auburn, Berkeley Lake, Grayson and Norcross, but councilmembers face re-election throughout Gwinnett.

In fact, in three cities, politicians are trying for comebacks.

In the county seat, former Mayor Rex Millsaps and former Councilman Bob Clark are both vying to get back on the Lawrenceville council. Millsaps will compete against incumbent P.K. Martin and Renita Hamilton, while Clark will square off against Brad Sullivan and Eric Reid.

In Snellville, rivals Barbara Bender and Kelly Kautz, both councilwomen, will vie for mayor. But in the usually politically charged city, three vacant council seats have been filled, with only one candidate qualifying for each seat. The three new members are Dave Emanuel, Diane Krause and Bobby Howard.

Instead, the fireworks are likely to be felt in Lilburn, where Mayor Diana Preston is being challenged by Councilman Johnny Crist. For Crist's seat, Teresa Czyz and Thomas Wight will square off, while incumbent Scott Batterton will face a slew of challengers: Kay Bennett, Porter Deal and Angel Alonso Jr.

In Suwanee, Councilman Jimmy Burnette will face Dan Pittman in a race for mayor, and Doug Ireland and Jimmy D. Spiro will square off to replace Burnette on the council.

Nearby, Duluth's Mayor Nancy Harris and Councilman Greg Whitlock did not draw competition, but two people -- Dusty Graham and Kelly Kelkenberg -- will vie for incumbent Doug Mundrick's seat. Mundrick decided not to seek re-election.

In Dacula, Councilwoman Susan Robinson is unopposed, but felow incumbent Tim Mongtgomery faces challenges from Vanessa Hall Green and former councilman Hubert Wells.

In Buford, 36-year-incumbent City Commissioner Phillip Beard faces a challenge from Charles L. Van House Jr. For school board, incumbent Daren Perkins is unopposed but long-time board member Leon Johnson will square off against Beth Lancaster.

Across Gwinnett in Loganville, former Mayor Mike Jones is seeking to get back on the City Council. Incumbents Wendell Geiger, Jerry Price and Dan Curry will be on ballots with Jones and Lee Baliles in a top-three vote-getters race.

In Norcross, Mayor Bucky Johnson faces no opposition and neither does Councilman Charlie Riehm. Incumbent Coucnilman Craig Newton, though, must face Greg McFarland in November.

In Berkeley Lake, Bob Smith qualified, along with incumbent Rebecca Spitler for City Council, and Lois Salter was unopposed for another term as mayor.

Incumbents were unopposed in Auburn, Grayson, Sugar Hill and Braselton, but none were spared an election in November. Nearly all of Gwinnett's cities will go to the polls to consider allowing package liquor sales on Sundays.