As qualifying for 2012 elections closed Friday, several new candidates for local races emerged.
Especially crowded are two School Board races, with two challengers running in District 4 against incumbent Roxanne Whitaker, and three candidates filing to run for the vacant District 1 seat.
David Dekle, Brian Slowinski and Carolyn Chase signed up to run for the District 1 School Board seat currently held by retiring Wayne Bridges.
In District 4, Whitaker will face a challenge from newcomers Bobby Ray Strickland and Deborah Fisher.
Incumbent School Board Chairwoman Regina Buccafusco is unopposed. All of the school board posts are nonpartisan, with election on the July 31 primary ballot.
In partisan races, County Commission District 3 incumbent Charles Allen drew a Republican primary challenge from Butch Holley, while District 2 Commissioner Trey Allen faces a Republican challenge from Lee Benedict.
The only additional local candidate filing before the deadline Friday was David Vogel, a Hull, Ga., Democrat who signed up to run against state Rep. Tom McCall, R-Washington, in District 33. The district was drawn into the Leah area of Columbia County during reapportionment
Superior Court Chief Judge Carlisle Overstreet drew a challenge from Willie Saunders, while judges Carl Brown Jr., Danny Craig, Sheryl Jolly and Michael Annis are unopposed.
Republican District Attorney Ashley Wright will face a General Election challenge from Democrat Evita Paschall.
Those judicial posts cover the Augusta Judicial Circuit, which encompasses Columbia, Richmond and Burke counties.
In legislative races, Republican District 24 state Sen. Bill Jackson is unopposed, while District 23 state Sen. Jesse Stone is being challenged by Democrat Robert Ingham. Republican District 33 state Rep. Tom McCall faces a challenge from Democrat David Vogel, while Republican District 122 state Rep. Ben Harbin and District 123 state Rep. Barbara Sims are unopposed.
Republicans Barry Fleming and Mike Popplewell will compete for the District 121 seat being vacated by Lee Anderson, who filed as a Republican for the redrawn 12th District U.S. Congressional seat.
Anderson will face Rick Allen, Wright McLeod and Maria Sheffield in the July 31 Republican Primary, with the winner facing incumbent Democratic U.S. Rep. John Barrow in November.
Tenth District U.S. Rep. Paul Broun will face a Republican primary challenge from Stephen K. Simpson.