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One contested race emerges as qualifying closes
Eight candidates seek seven seats in Bryan Co.
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Two school board members were the last to qualify for the 2014 general election.

Both Marianne Smith (Dist. 4) and Paine Bacon (Dist. 1) qualified as Republicans — Smith on Thursday, Bacon on Friday.

That leaves only one contested race in the Republican primary for local seats, as former District 5 commissioner Rick Gardner will try to regain the seat he lost in 2010 to incumbent Jimmy Henderson.

Other incumbents to qualify were county commissioners Carter Infinger (Dist. 4) and Wade Price (Dist. 2); and Board of Education Chairman Eddie Warren and member David Schwartz (Dist. 5).

No Democrats qualified for local races during the weeklong period that began Monday and ended at noon Friday.

“There is only one contested race in Bryan County Board of Commissioners District 5,” Russ Carpenter, chairman of the local GOP, said Friday. “Nonetheless, with contested races in the U.S. House 1st District, the U.S. Senate, governor and the state House, it will be a busy primary season in Bryan County.”

Qualifying began a process that includes primaries on May 20 and an additional qualifying period June 23-27 for independent candidates. Those who wish to run as a write-in candidate have until Sept. 2 to file their intentions.

There are a number of state and national races of local interest as well. Georgia is electing a governor this year along with a number of seats in the state’s General Assembly.

The 1st Congressional District will elect a new member of the U.S. House for the first time in 22 years, since Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Savannah, is giving the seat up to be one of the contenders for Saxby Chambliss’ seat in the U.S. Senate.

Richmond Hill real estate agent Amy Tavio qualified Wednesday in Atlanta for Kingston’s former seat, one of two candidates vying to win the Democratic primary. Several Republicans are also seeking Kingston’s former seat and have qualified, among them Pooler pharmacist Buddy Carter, a current state senator and former mayor of Pooler, and retired Army Ranger Dr. Bob Johnson.

Also qualifying this week were St. Simon’s Island businessman John McCollum, Waycross’ Darwin Carter, a former staffer for Pres. Ronald Reagan, and former state Sen. Jeff Chapman from Brunswick.

Current state Rep. Ben Watson, a Savannah doctor, qualified Monday for the Georgia Senate seat being vacated by Buddy Carter, while Jese Petrea and Martin Sullivan will be on the ticket for Watson’s seat in the state House.

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