Who is on the ballot in the primary? Here's a breakdown for contested races in the Augusta area (2024)

Voters in Augusta and Columbia County will head to the polls on Tuesday to pick the local candidates they want to see in on the ballot in the Nov. 5 general election.

Voters will have to chose whether to vote in the Democratic or Republican primaries. There is no crossing over – pick one or the other.

Most of the races in the primary are uncontested. The Augusta Chronicle has compiled a list of primary races where there are at least two candidates. The winners in each race move on to the general election.

Links to the candidates’ social media and campaign websites are included.

Special Election

Columbia County Board of Commissioners District 3 (to fill the unexpired term of Gary Richardson)

(This race is on both the Democratic and the Republican ballots.)

Mike Carraway

Carraway owns ACHS Insurance. His priorities are to continue positive growth in the county; ensure solid infrastructure and emergency and recreation services continue; and, continue community collaboration to maintain an excellent school system.

Learn more:

Rickey Merideth Sr.

Merideth is a veteran and a professional chef. His priorities are helping small businesses with reduced regulations and improving services for senior citizens and veterans.

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Who is on the ballot in the primary? Here's a breakdown for contested races in the Augusta area (2)

Contested Republican Primary Races

Georgia House District 131

Paul Abbott

Abbott Is a retired educator and served for 22 years in the U.S. Army and the Georgia Army National Guard. His platform includes giving teachers more support and more control over their classrooms; preventing biological men from competing in women’s sports; school choice for parents; and improving school safety.

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David Byrne

Byrne a former Cyber Operations Officer for the U.S. Army National Guard and defense contractor who now works for a hospital in cyber security, calls himself a pragmatic visionary. His focus in on addressing mental health, corporate subsidies, declaring English as the national language in the U.S., American land ownership, insurance reform, and drug prices.

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Benjamin Cairns

Cairns is a political science, history, and economics teacher at Georgia Military College and a former Marine. His goal is to bring Georgia into the 21st century by adhering to traditional values while recognizing shift in constituent behavior, and to ensure the district has a voice for conservative values in Atlanta.

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Rob Clifton

Clifton is CEO of Clifton Construction, an alumnus of Leadership Augusta and Leadership Columbia County, and on the Columbia County Chamber Board of Directors. His focus is to strengthen families, promote policies that build strong business, and ensuring law enforcement has the right resources.

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Russell A. Wilder

Russell is the owner of Top Shelf Cigar and Tobacco Shoppe in Evans, and formerly worked in the nuclear energy industry. His focus is on voting integrity, eliminating the state income tax, supporting Fort Eisenhower, school choice and the protection of parental rights, removing regulation that hurt small businesses, and fully funding law enforcement.

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Columbia County Board of Commissioners District 2 – Republican Primary

Trey Allen

Allen was the District 2 commissioner from 2008 to 2016 and is a commercial broker with Mantle Insurance Agency. His priorities: redeveloping the infrastructure and neighborhoods in aging District 2; traffic issues and making sure roads are safe; and giving law enforcement the tools it needs.

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Mark E. Petersen

Petersen, a former Marine, worked with Publix for 32 years and later in the financial industry. His priorities are home insurance rate reform; ending the county-imposed 4% tax on non-prepared food item at grocery stores; and creating an initiative for financial literacy to be taught in public schools.

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Who is on the ballot in the primary? Here's a breakdown for contested races in the Augusta area (3)

Contested Democratic Party Primary Races

US House District 12

Daniel “DJ” Jackson


Jackson is a retired Army Warrant Officer who grew up in Augusta and moved back after retiring with 20 years of service. In the military he worked extensively with emerging technologies. His top issues are wage growth, equality fairness, holding leaders accountable, veteran support, health care costs, agriculture, criminal justice reform, education, the environment, and national security.

Learn more:

Elizabeth “Liz” Johnson

Bulloch County

Johnson was the Democratic Party nominee for this seat in 2022. She lost the election to incumbent Republican Rick Allen. She has owned two independent insurance agencies and is now retired. Her top issues are wage growth, health care, safety, and education.

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Georgia House District 129

Scott Cambers

Cambers is a project planner who made an unsuccessful bid for this seat in 2022. Among the issues he wants to find solutions for are homelessness, rising healthcare costs, lack of criminal justice reform, and poor public transportation.

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Karlton L. Howard (Incumbent)

Howard is a pastor and executive producer and host of “The Parade of Quartets, a local gospel music TV show. He won the seat during a 2022 special election to replace his younger brother, Rep. Henry “Wayne” Howard, after his death. His priorities are the lack of affordable housing and the displacement of older people due to an influx of multi-family housing.

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Contested Nonpartisan Races

Columbia County Board of Education District 4

Katie Allen

Allen is a veteran and a small business owner. Her platform includes a focus on the academic foundation – reading, writing, and arithmetic; a balanced budget that applies a fiscally conservative lens to all decisions; and being responsive to constituents.

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Lee Ann Meyer (Incumbent)

Meyer has served on the Columbia County Board of Education since 2016. She is the human resources manager for MAU Workforce Solutions and an owner of Red Oak Manor. Her priorities are the effective instructional and fiscal management of student growth; increase and improve CTAE Pathways for students; increase the safety of students and provide an environment conducive to learning.

Learn more:

Primary Contested Democratic Races - Richmond County

Augusta Commission District 1

Matt Aitken – Aitken, a former commissioner, and a local real estate agent. He wants to expand the Augusta Convention Center, create beautification plans for sites like Lake Olmstead, thenow-demolished jail on 4th Street, and improve the city’s park system.

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Jo’Rae Jenkins

Jenkins is a planner at Jenkins & Associates and the founder of Reach One Teach One, a mentoring and community organization.

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Jordan Johnson (Incumbent)

Johnson is the executive director at Georgia Shift, an organization to organize young people to build independent political power. His priorities are addressing homelessness, poverty, and infrastructure.

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Kenny Osorio

Osorio is pursuing his doctoral degree in Public Administration and has worked in local and national governments. His priorities are taxes, enhancing security, and to create a thriving business environment.

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Augusta Commission District 3

Joidaz Gaines is a dentist and native of Augusta. His priorities are enhancing public safety, investing in our infrastructure, and ensuring equitable development across the CSRA.

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Catherine Smith McKnight (Incumbent)

McKnight strives to be a “Constituent’s Commissioner” who brings common sense to her work on the commission. Her priorities are to continue to push for a forensic audit, attract new businesses, maximize tax use with no tax increase; maintain the infrastructure, and support law enforcement and fire departments.

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Carol Jones Yancy

Yancy is vice-chair of the Richmond County Housing Authority. She is the owner of Root Cause Hair Restoration and a certified trichologist and a former teacher.

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Augusta Commission District 5

Bobby Williams (Incumbent)

Williams is a retired school principal and educator. His priorities are move and improve through enhanced infrastructure and community services with a focus on community welfare, safety, neighborhood services, and business development.

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Don “DC” Clark

Clark is a network operations manager at Cisco. He is an Army veteran, former radio announcer and is the former deputy director of Forces United. His priorities are collaboration to drive progress and manage growth.

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Augusta Commission District 7

Marshall Bedder

Bedder is Associate Professor and Director of the Addiction Medicine Fellowship program. His priorities are supporting military veterans, enhancing education, and workforce development to build a stronger, healthier Augusta.

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Tina Slendak

Slendak has more than 25 years of office management experience and has been active on several neighborhood-community and church groups. Her priorities are maintaining parks and other recreational facilities; better coordination among departments in maintaining public areas; attracting businesses to attract young people; holding department heads accountable.

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Augusta Commission Super District 9

Francine R. Scott (Incumbent)

Scott worked in state government for 30 years. The priorities she hears from her district are eliminating food deserts by attracting grocery stores to underserved areas, infrastructure issues, potholes, and flooding problems.

Learn more:

Marion Williams

Williams, a pastor, was elected to the commission in 1999, 2003, 2013, and 2016. In 2022 he lost his bid to be mayor. He wants to bring the commissioners together and work to attract new businesses to Augusta.

Who is on the ballot in the primary? Here's a breakdown for contested races in the Augusta area (2024)
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