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Posted: March 8, 2014 10:00 p.m.

Meet the candidates

In today’s paper – and on our website since Friday – is the full list of folks who have qualified to run for local, state and federal political seats for 2014, representing Newton County.

The primary is set for May 20, two months earlier than in past years, and there could be a couple of heated races.

In the District 2 Board of Commissioners race, incumbent Lanier Sims will face off against the man he unseated in 2010, Earnest Simmons. Simmons was in disbelief when he lost last time around, and it’ll be interesting to see how the voters view the two candidates four years later.

Commissioner J.C. Henderson, the longest-serving commissioner, is seeking a sixth term, but is facing challenges from two fellow Democrats, Sonya Hunte and Jacquelyn Smith. Henderson has proven to be a hard incumbent to unseat in past elections, and you have to wonder if having two opponents will only split the vote among those not already solidly in Henderson’s camp.

The three school board seats won’t have any contested races in the primary or the general election. Stan Edwards will take over the District 1 seat from Jeff Meadors, who chose not to seek reelection. District 3 school board member Shakila Henderson-Baker and District 5 member Abigail Morgan Coggin will have no opponents as they seek their second terms in office.

The state representative District 112 seat will be the most contested of our primarily-local seats. Ten-year Rep. Doug Holt is returning to private life ,and Newton County residents Aaron Brooks and Ester Fleming and Morgan County resident Dave Belton are facing off in the Republican primary, while Patsy Harris, another Morgan County resident, will be representing the Democratic Party in the general election.

You can see the forum we held last night with the help of the Newton Conservative Liberty Alliance online at CovNews.com and read our story in today’s paper. Brooks and Belton debated on a variety of topics; Fleming could not attend.

In state house District 113, Democratic incumbent Pam Dickerson from Conyers will once again face local resident Sharon Sawyer for her seat. Dickerson defeated Sawyer in 2012 in the August runoff.

Unfortunately, we don’t have any Newton County candidates competing in the state senate races, as Republican Rick Jeffares from Locust Grove and Democrat Ronald Ramsey from Lithonia will retain their seats without opposition.

The race for the 4th District U.S. House seat could get very interesting as DeKalb County Sheriff Tom Brown is a Democrat being endorsed by many Republicans in his race against incumbent Hank Johnson. We’re hearing some in the district say Brown could be the last hope of those looking to unseat Johnson.

The race for the District 10 House of Representatives seat, being vacated by Republican Paul Broun, has no Newton County contenders, but has a packed field of Republicans and a lone Democrat.

We appreciate each and every candidate investing time, money and energy into efforts to become our representatives. Throughout the campaign, we will be covering the candidates and races.

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