Democracy in Action: Exploring Primary Elections and the Path to City Council - Selecting Qualified Candidates for Local Governance

Democracy in Action: Exploring Primary Elections and the Path to City Council - Selecting Qualified Candidates for Local Governance

By Kirsten J. Barnes

On March 12, Columbus voters went to the poll to select their presidential nominees for the Democratic and Republican parties. 

According to the Georgia Secretary of State in Muscogee County President Joseph R. Biden Jr. received 6,050 votes, while former President Donald J. Trump received 4,633 votes. Statewide President Biden received 274,820 votes, while Trump received 496,008 votes, securing the Democratic and Republican nominations respectively.

Nationally, after March 12, President Biden secured 2,107 pledged delegates to former President Trump’s 1,241 bound delegates. 

On the local front, qualifying ended on March 11 for candidates hoping to win the election on Nov. 5 for various offices. However, citizens will see little change, with most incumbents running unopposed.

All qualified candidates will be on the General Primary Ballot on May 21, 2024, with early voting beginning April 29 and ending May 17.

According to the Columbus Elections and Registration office, the following people will be on the May 21st Ballot:

In the Columbus City Council election, only one candidate on the ballot has an opponent, while incumbents District 2 Counselor Glenn Davis, District 6 Counselor Gary Allen and District 9 Counselor Walker Garrett are running unopposed.

District 4 Counselor Toyia Tucker will face challenger Tyrone Thomas in the only opposed seat.

Four candidates are vying for the Council At-Large seat: John Anker, Travis Chambers, Patrick Leonard, and Rocky R. Marsh. 

The same is true for the Muscogee County School District. Incumbents Pat Hugley Green (District 1), Vanessa K. Jackson (District 3), and Laurie Ashe (District 7) will run unopposed. At the same time, board member Patricia “Pat” Frey (District 7) will face challenger Laketha Ashe for the seat. 

In partisan elections, Sheriff Greg Countryman Sr. (D) will face Mark LaJoye (R); Solicitor General Suzanne Goddard (R) will face Shevon Sutcliffe Thomas (D), and Coroner Boddy Bryan (D) will face fellow Democrat Royal Anderson. 

The following incumbents are running unopposed: Clerk of Superior Court Danielle F. Forte (D), Clerk of Municipal Court Reginald Thompson (D), Probate Court Judge Marc D’Antonio (D), and Judge of Municipal Court Steven D. Smith (D).

David Britt is running unopposed for Tax Commissioner after current Tax Commissioner Lula Huff decided not to seek reelection. 

For Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit District Attorney Anthony Johnson (D) will face Don Kelly (R) after incumbent Stacey Jackson did not seek re-election.



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