Let the campaigning begin.
Today, marks the first day of qualifying for state elections as well as the District 1 seat and the at-large chairman slot on the Columbia County Commission. Candidates have until noon Friday to pay the qualifying fee and join the races.
Locally, there shouldn't be many surprises - the candidates for each of the seats have made their plans know for weeks.
In District 1, incumbent Frank Spears faces Columbia County Planning Commission Member Steve Brown - both Republicans.
Spears - an insurance agent with State Farm - was first elected to the District 2 commission seat in 1998, but the revamping of the county district lines to accommodate four seats put him in District 1.
Brown, a forester, has served on the planning commission for four years, including two years as chairman.
In the commission chairman race, retired banker Andy Kingery faces commercial builder Ron Cross - both Republicans.
Kingery is the former chairman of the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce and retired vice-president of SunTrust Bank.
Cross owns CCI Inc. - the company responsible for building several large buildings in the area, including the county's courthouse annex in Evans.
In state races, incumbent Rep. Ben Harbin and incumbent Sen. Joey Brush are not expected to have opposition. The race to fill the seat of retiring Rep. Bill Jackson has only one announced candidate - current County Commission Chairman Barry Fleming. When Fleming qualifies for the seat today, however, he'll have to resign from the commission.
9 a.m. June 19 - noon June 21: Qualifying for County Commission Chairman, County Commission District 1, State House #79, State House #80 and State Senate #23
June 27, 28, July 1 from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.: Qualifying for District 3 Commission seat (being vacated by Barry Fleming)
July 22: Last day to register to vote in the Primary election
August 20:Primary election
September 10:Primary runoff (if needed)
October 7: Last day to register to vote in the General Election
November 5: General Election
November 26: General runoff (if needed)
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