published Sunday, March 11th, 2012

Jackson County holds first-ever Republican primaries


Polls open from 7 a.m. CDT to 7 p.m. CDT.

Ballots in Jackson and DeKalb counties in Alabama have a mix of local races and, in Jackson, some history-making primaries.

Voters in Jackson could elect their first Republican local officials on Tuesday in the county's first-ever local GOP primaries.

Jackson County Board of Registrars Chairman Larry Hancock, a local Republican Executive Committee member, said Jackson residents' values have "leaned" more Republican in recent years, which has been especially reflected in state and federal races.

But he said that rightward tilt wasn't evident until this year's Republican primary.

He's expecting a good turnout Tuesday, but not because of the local races. More people probably will vote because of interest in the presidential race, he said.

"We've got 35,107 registered voters in the county; I'm expecting somewhere between 12,000 and 15,000" to vote, he said.


In Jackson's probate judge race, Bruce Allison, Donna Haislip, Gary Stewart and Victor Manning will vie for the GOP slot, while Rickey Dooley and Max Fuller will contend for the Democratic spot.

In the race for County Commission chairman, Jack Allen, Sadie Bias and Matthew Hodges will battle in the Democratic primary while Republican Chris Woods is unopposed, officials said.

In County Commission District 1, voters in the Democratic primary will choose among Jonathan Colvin, Harold Dawson, Bill Payne and Robert Williams. In the GOP primary, Tim Guffey will face James Tommy Hanes Jr.

For the commission's District 2 seat, the Democratic primary contenders are Sheila Cornelison, Felix Jackson and Billy Miller. Republican primary candidate Jason Venable is unopposed.

In the District 3 Democratic primary, J.D. Atkins, Dennis Miller and Gaylen Stone will face off for a spot against unopposed Republican Phillip Thompson.

In District 4's Republican primary, the contenders are Andrew Gardner and Mike Sisk. The unopposed Democratic candidate is Stacey Ledwell.

Two candidates are vying for Circuit Court clerk in the Democratic primary -- Nicholas Atchley and Ken Ferrell. There is no Republican candidate.

The candidates in the Jackson County School Superintendent Democratic primary are Ken Harding and Mark Guffey. The unopposed GOP candidate is Joey Vaughn.


DeKalb County's voters in the Democratic primary for Board of Education superintendent will choose from Ed Burke, Jason Mayfield and Bill Monroe, while voters in the GOP primary will pick either Steven Street or Hugh Taylor.

Board of Education District 3 contenders in the Republican primary are Mary Etta Bailey and Jeff Williams. There is no Democratic candidate.

And in the Board of Education District 4 Republican primary, Claude Callaham and Matt Sharp will face off. There is no Democratic candidate.

about Ben Benton...

Ben Benton is a news reporter at the Chattanooga Times Free Press. He covers Southeast Tennessee and previously covered North Georgia education. Ben has worked at the Times Free Press since November 2005, first covering Bledsoe and Sequatchie counties and later adding Marion, Grundy and other counties in the northern and western edges of the region to his coverage. He was born and raised in Cleveland, Tenn., a graduate of Bradley Central High School. Benton ...

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