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Columbia County voters head to polls Tuesday

Posted: July 28, 2012 - 11:07pm

Columbia County voters will decide five local races and a local referendum Tuesday, while also having a voice in several district or regional races.

Two county commission seats are up for grabs on the Republican ballot. With no Democratic opposition, both races will be decided Tuesday.

Incumbent Trey Allen faces Lee Benedict in commission District 2, while in District 3 Charles Allen is being challenged by Butch Holley.

Republicans also will choose a successor to Chief Magistrate Judge Bobby Christine, who isn’t running for re-election after being called to active duty with the Army National Guard. Jason Hasty, Christopher Hudson and current Associate Magistrate Jason Troiano are seeking the post.

Two nonpartisan school board seats appear on all ballots in Tuesday’s race. In District 1, Carolyn Chase, David Dekle and Brian Slowinski face off for the seat being vacated by Wayne Bridges, while in District 4, Deborah Fisher and Bobby Ray Strickland are challenging incumbent Roxanne Whitaker.

If any of the three-way races fails to deliver a simple majority for one candidate, a runoff election will be held Aug. 21.

Columbia County voters also will have a say in the newly drawn Georgia House District 121 race, which encompasses parts of Columbia and McDuffie counties. Republicans Barry Fleming and Mike Popplewell are seeking the post being vacated by Lee Anderson, who is running for the U.S. House District 12 seat. There is no Democratic opposition.

Anderson, a Columbia County resident, is one of four Republican candidates seeking the District 12 seat, along with Rick Allen and Wright McLeod of Augusta, and Maria Sheffield of Dublin. The winner will face Democrat John Barrow on Nov. 6.

All of Columbia County until this year had been part of the 10th Congressional District, but was split during reapportionment with most of the county’s population shifted to the 12th District starting in 2013. U.S. Rep. Paul Broun, who represents the 10th District, is facing a Republican challenge from Stephen Simpson.

Columbia County voters, along with those in the Augusta Judicial Circuit counties of Richmond and Burke, also will vote in the nonpartisan race between Superior Court Chief Judge Carlisle Overstreet and challenger Willie Saunders.

On all county ballots, voters will see questions in two binding referendums: One asks voters across the state to add a 1 percent sales tax for transportation projects, while the other asks Columbia County voters whether to allow Sunday package sales of alcohol.

Voters in Harlem will hold a separate referendum on Sunday sales but also can vote in the countywide ballot, as can Grovetown voters, who approved their own referendum in November. Sunday package sales in that city have been allowed since December.

In addition, Republican ballots statewide include five nonbinding questions for voters, while Democratic ballots include four straw-poll questions.

Voters must select either a Republican or Democratic ballot when voting or may choose a nonpartisan ballot that includes only the school board race for their district, the judicial election, and the binding referendums.

For any questions on voting, call the Columbia County Board of Elections office at (706) 868-3355.


Bios on all the candidates/Pages 6,7

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