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Hopson qualifies to challenge Ealum for HD 153 seat

ATLANTA — Now, the race for the House District 153 seat gets interesting.
CaMia Hopson, who ran unsuccessfully last year to unseat Bobby Coleman from his Ward II Albany City Commission seat, finishing third in a five-person race that was won in a runoff by Matt Fuller, qualified Tuesday to challenge Darrell Ealum for his state House District 153 seat.
Hopson had been mentioned as a possible candidate in the HD 153 race, and she said late last week that she was considering entering the race. She said Tuesday afternoon that, after talking with family members and other advisers, she’d decided to take the political plunge.

“I guess I’m doing this,” Hopson, a risk management specialist at Marine Corps Logistics Base-Albany, said. “I am very excited to have gone through the (qualifying) process, and I look forward to doing great things in our community.

“I’m not going to speak right now about what’s been done previously. I plan to run for this office, not against the incumbent. I’m just looking forward to giving the citizens in House District 153 great representation. I promise to represent them with passion.”
Hopson was the first candidate to qualify for a run against Ealum, who has held the seat for the past four years, but others are expected to enter the race as well. Tracy Taylor, a Waycross firefighter who has run unsuccessfully for a seat on the Dougherty County Commission and in the most recent Albany mayoral race, told The Herald Monday he too will qualify for a run at the seat.
Muarlean Edwards has also been mentioned as a possible candidate.

While Tuesday was a slow day for local elections — officials with the Dougherty Elections office said no candidates had come in to qualify during the day — it was a day of wrangling for would-be candidates. Dougherty Republican Party Chairman Stephen Brimberry said he and other members of the party are looking for potential candidates, particularly in light of District 4 Dougherty County Commissioner Ewell Lyle’s surprising announcement Monday that he will not seek a third term on that board.

Lyle, a retired Department of Natural Resources manager and one of two Republicans on the County Commission, said he would step down at the end of his current term, which runs through the end of the year, for family reasons. Lyle also said his belief in term limits for elected officials is responsible for his departure from the board.
Brimberry said that, according to Republican Party secretary Tami McCoy, there may be some “surprises” before qualifying ends at noon Friday.

Except for Hopson’s announcement, there were no others Tuesday that impacted the local Southwest Georgia delegation. House District 152 Rep. Ed Rynders, a Leesburg Republican, drew opposition from frequent candidate Mary Egler, who qualified to run Monday as a Democrat. Neither House 154 incumbent Winfred Dukes nor District 12 state Sen. Freddie Powell Sims has yet registered, though both are expected to.

Dougherty Elections Supervisor Ginger Nickerson was left to consult state law Tuesday after reading of Lyle’s decision not to run. Asked what might happen in the event that no one qualified for a seat up for re-election, she said she would research that question.
“I’m not 100 percent sure, so I’ll look that up,” Nickerson said. “I’m pretty sure we would have to re-open qualifying and re-advertise. I don’t remember anything like that happening before in the 15 years I’ve been in the elections office.”

Albany State University professor Aaron Johnson, who ran unsuccessfully against District 4 School Board representative Melissa Strother four years ago and is a neighbor of Lyle’s, is being discussed as a possible candidate for the District 4 County Commission seat.

Local Democratic qualifying for the May 22 primaries will continue 9 a.m.-4 p.m. through Friday at the county Elections office. Republican qualifying will be held 9 a.m.-noon today and Friday at 2412 E. Alberson Drive. Candidates for state offices are qualifying 9 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Georgia Secretary of State’s office.

Committee to Elect CaMia Hopson
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