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Eleven Democrats, six Republicans qualify

Mike Russell

Qualifying ended at noon Friday, but not before a surprise candidate registered to run for the District 1 Board of Education seat as a Democrat.
Just before the noon deadline, Mike Russell, a Grady County businessman and owner of Russell Outdoor Advertising, qualified as a Democratic candidate for the District 1 school board seat.
On the Republican side, the July 31 primary election will feature city of Cairo employee Jeff Worsham and local plumber Darren Moore for the Republican nomination for the District 1 school board seat. The winner of the Republican primary will face Russell in the general election this November.
In the District 3 Board of Education race, Cairo banker Marty Cannington was the lone Democrat to qualify and local barber Allen Jenkins was the only Republican candidate to qualify for the District 3 post. Cannington and Jenkins will face off in the general election in November.
Grady County Board of Education Chairman Teresa Gee Harris, who represents District 4 on the school board, was the lone candidate to qualify for District 4 and she automatically earns another four-year term.
There will not be any county commission races this year. District 1 Commissioner Elwyn Childs and District 3 Commissioner Charles Norton, who both qualified for the first time as Republicans, were the only candidates to qualify. When their new terms begin in January, the majority of the Grady County Board of Commissioners will be Republican for the first time in the county’s history. District 2 Commissioner Billy Poitevint was elected two years ago as a Republican.
LaFaye Copeland, a Democrat, and the lone candidate to qualify for the District 4 seat being vacated by Commissioner Al Ball, automatically earns a four-year term beginning Jan. 1, 2013.
In the July 31 primary, Grady County Sheriff Harry Young will battle Democratic challengers Jerome Smiley and Odell Jolly. The Democratic nominee will then face the perennial sheriff’s candidate, Republican Earl Stuckey, who qualified Thursday as a Republican for a third run for the sheriff’s office. Stuckey has run as both a Democrat and a Republican in his attempt to become sheriff.
Grady County Probate Court Clerk Denise Maddox and city of Cairo Communications Director Celeste Tyler were the only two candidates to qualify for the nonpartisan election for probate judge, which is being vacated by incumbent Judge Sadie W. Voyles.
Grady County Tax Commissioner Phyllis Gainous, Clerk of Court Debbie Kines, and Chief Magistrate Larry Bearden, who qualified as Democrats, are all unopposed and will each serve another four-year term.
Democratic candidate Rusty Powe was the lone candidate to qualify for coroner, so he will succeed Coroner Nancy Clark, who is not seeking re-election, on Jan. 1, 2013.
Early voting for the primary elections and nonpartisan election opens July 9. The last day to register to be eligible to vote in the upcoming election is July 2. Election day is Tuesday, July 31.

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