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Qualifying underway for state, local races
Parties open qualifying in Atlanta, Covington

COVINGTON, Ga. — Qualifying for the 2018 elections begins Monday with state and county races on the ballot.

Two seats on the Newton County Board of Commissioners and three on the county Board of Education will be decided in elections Nov. 6.

To be decided are the District 2 and 4 seats on the Board of Commissioners and the Districts 1, 3 and 5 seats on the school board.

Democrats must defend two seats on the Board of Commissioners this year.

Lanier Sims holds the District 2 seat. J.C. Henderson is the incumbent in District 4. Both are Democrats from Covington.

School board members with terms expiring this year are Trey Bailey, who was appointed to the District 1 seat in 2016; Shakila Henderson-Baker, a Democrat from Oxford, in District 3; and board Vice Chairwoman Abigail Coggin, a Republican from Covington, in District 5.

Qualifying fees are based on the salary of the board seats. The fees are $533.58 for Board of Commissioners seats and $216 for Board of Education seats.

Democratic qualifying for county offices will take place at the Law Office of Philip A. Johnson, 10195 Dearing St. SE, Covington, between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and from 9 a.m. to noon Friday. Qualifying fees must be paid by cashier’s check to the Newton County Democratic Committee.

Republican qualifying locally will take place at Scott Jay’s Pak and Ship store, 10211 Highway 278 E., Covington, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and from 9 a.m. until noon Friday. Certified check, money orders and personal checks made out to the Newton County Republican Party Inc. are accepted, but the candidate will not be considered to have qualified if the check is returned.

Statewide qualifying is from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday, 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, and from 8 a.m. until noon Friday at the state Capitol.

Federal races on the ballot locally include the U.S. House seats for Districts 4 and 10. Those are currently held by Reps. Hank Johnson, a Democrat from Lithonia, and Jody Hice, a Republican from Greensboro, respectively. Both are expected to qualify for re-election.

The race for governor will grab headlines. Gov. Nathan Deal, a Republican, is term-limited. Other statewide races on the ballot will be lieutenant governor (incumbent Casey Cagle is running for governor), secretary of state (incumbent Brian Kemp is term-limited and running for governor), attorney general, commissioner of agriculture, commissioner of insurance, state school superintendent, labor commissioner, two seats on the Public Service Commission, all 56 seats in the state Senate and all 180 seats in the state House.

Newton County legislative seats include Senate Districts 17 (incumbent Sen. Brian Strickland, R-McDonough) and 43 (Sen. Tonya Anderson, D-Lithonia) and House Districts 109 (Rep. Dale Rutledge, R-McDonough), 110 (Rep. Andrew J. Welch, R-McDonough), 112 (Rep. Dave Belton, R-Buckhead) and 113 (Rep. Pam Dickerson, D-Conyers).

Key dates to remember for the 2018 election cycle include:

  •        Monday, March 5: Qualifying begins at 9 a.m.
  •        Friday, March 9: Qualifying ends at noon
  •        Tuesday, May 22: General primary election and nonpartisan general election
  •        Monday, June 25: First day to file nomination petitions for independent candidates
  •        Tuesday, July 10: Last day to file nomination petitions for independent candidates
  •        Tuesday, July 24: General primary runoff
  •       Tuesday, Sept. 4: Last day to file and publish notice of intention of write-in candidacy
  •        Monday, Sept. 10: Last day for a write-in candidate to file a publisher’s affidavit
  •         Tuesday, Nov. 6: General election
  •         Tuesday, Dec. 4: General election runoff (local and state offices)
  •         Tuesday, Jan. 8: General election runoff (federal offices)