POLITICAL NOTEBOOK: Races shaping up during qualifying week

Camie Young

Camie Young

Grayson will have a new mayor, and it looks like Sugar Hill will, too.

With the only one mayoral contest set so far, this one in Loganville, the sparks could fly this political season over city council seats.

This week, candidates are lining up for office in Gwinnett’s 16 cities.

In some, like Buford, incumbents are set to start new terms with no competition.

In Grayson, where qualifying ended Wednesday, long-time Councilwoman Allison Wilkerson is set to replace the retiring Mayor Jim Hinkle. And three political newcomers, Linda S. Jenkins, Laura Gavulic and Trenton Arnold, put their hats in the ring to become new councilmen. Jenkins and Gavulic will square off for one of the seats.

Candidates have until Friday to sign up for a campaign in Sugar Hill, where Councilman Steve Edwards has stepped up to replace Gary Pirkle as mayor. Curtis Northrop and Mike Sullivan have signed up to seek new terms.

But in Loganville, former Councilman Jerry Price has challenged Dan Curry, the man who stepped in as mayor in a recent special election, after the death of Ray Nunley. Seven people are vying for three council slots, with incumbents Mark Kiddoo and Rey Martinez being joined on the ballot by former Councilmembers Chuck Bagley and Eileen Waring as well as Linda Dodd, Amanda Sosebe and Pedro Vega.

In politically charged Snellville, the ballot will also be long.

The sparks began to fly at Monday’s council meeting in the city where everybody is somebody, when former councilwoman Barbara Bender got into it with Mayor Kelly Kautz, who bested Bender in a bitter race two years ago.

Bender signed up to campaign for a seat back on the council just hours earlier, challenging Kautz’s sole ally Councilman Mike Sabbagh. And Councilmen Tom Witts and Bobby Howard have also drawn opponents, Alisa Boykin and Dexter Harrison respectively.

Duluth’s Billy Jones is the only councilman who remained unopposed Wednesday, with incumbents Marsha Anderson Bomar and Jim Dugan facing two opponents each.

Bomar has been challenged by David Cossette and Chaohan Tseng, and Dugan will face Kirkland Carden and Seth D. Grey.

In Lawrenceville, P.K. Martin’s decision to give up his council seat has drawn two political newcomers. Larry Troutman and Keith Roche have put their names in the hat, and Bob Clark has qualified for another term in his post.

Dacula, Lilburn and Norcross incumbents have yet to draw competition. Actually, Dacula is finished with the process, but a vote will still be held in November, as residents are asked if package stores will be allowed in the city.

In Peachtree Corners, Mayor Mike Mason said the fact that three council incumbents were unopposed for new terms is a sign that the new city is on track. While a vote is set for a redevelopment measure, Councilmember Jay Lowe, Jeanne Aulbach and Weare Gratwick don’t have to worry about re-election.

Suwanee’s Dan Foster and Beth Hilscher were unopposed for new terms, and newcomer Linnea Miller is unopposed for the third seat, currently held by Kevin McOmber.

Braselton also doesn’t have any opposed candidates, with Bill Orr qualifying for another term as mayor, and incumbent Peggy Slappey and Rhonda Stites taking council seats.

As of early afternoon Wednesday, incumbent Scott Lee was joined by Jeffrey Allen Morgan and W. Rodney Hammond on Berkeley Lake ballots, where the best of three will win, but officials have another day to file the paperwork.

Political Notebook appears in the Thursday and Sunday editions of the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Camie Young can be reached via email at camie.young@gwinnettdailypost.com.

For archived columns, go to www.gwinnettdailypost.com/politics.