Election update

Four contested races will be on the ballot in the May 19 general and non-partisan primary election.

The marquee race will be the election for Sheriff. Incumbent Ramsey Bennett will be running for a third term. He is being challenged by Major Robby Boatright of the Blackshear Police Department, retired Department of Natural Resources Ranger Gary Simmons and retired state trooper Greg Stone. All are running as Republicans.

In the only other county-wide race, voters will have three choices for coroner.

Incumbent William Wilson qualified to run for a third term. He is being challenged by  Bill Cselle, former deputy coroner, past county commissioner and school board member, and Mandy Alvey Smith, a registered nurse. All three are running as Republicans.

Voters in district one will have a choice for both their county commission and school board race. District one includes the Hacklebarney/Cason areas.

Incumbent Harold Rozier Jr. will face a challenge from retired GBI agent Weyland Yeomans for the Republican nomination. The winner of that race will face Democrat Tyrone Harris in the November general election. Harris, a longtime  contractor, is the first Democrat to qualify for local office in Pierce County since 2010.

A fourth candidate, John T. Wilson, had qualified to run for the seat as a Republican, but withdrew from the race as qualifying ended Friday.

There will be a three-way race for the district one school board seat.

Realtor Kirby Malone, counselor Thomansine McGauley Ricks and retired law enforcement officer Steve Whitehead signed up to run for the post. Current district one representative Jack Saussy announced two weeks ago he would not run for another term. The school board is non-partisan.

A number of incumbents  are all running unopposed and will be sworn in to new terms in January 2021. They include  Clerk of Court Thomas W. Sauls, Tax Commissioner Terresa Davis, Surveyor Stephen Duncan, Magistrate Judge Glenda Dowling and Probate Judge Moye Howard. Sauls will begin his sixth term and Davis and Duncan their third terms in January. Dowling was first elected to fill an unexpired term in 1989 and has been re-elected seven times. Howard is currently completing his second term. Sauls, Davis and Duncan are Republicans. The Magistrate and Probate Judge positions are non-partisan.

In district three, county commissioner Randy Dixon  and school board member Chip Griner are both running unopposed. Dixon has served for 14 years. He was first elected in a special election in 2006 and has won re-election three times.  Griner will begin serving his second term in January. Dixon is a Republican. School board seats are non-partisan.

District three includes the Otter Creek and St. Johns Blackshear areas.

The Democratic and Republican primaries and non-partisan election will be Tuesday, May 19. A run-off, if necessary,  will be Tuesday, July 21.

The last day to register to vote for the May 19 primary will be April 20. Early voting will begin April 27 with a Saturday early vote to be held May 9.