“From 9 to 10 we were back to back, and then it slowed down. They wanted to get on in here and get qualified,” said Rose Wing, 1st Vice Chair for the Cobb GOP.
Birrell said she arrived early to qualify because, “I’m just excited about the opportunity to serve the constituents in Cobb in District 3 for four more years. I’m just excited.”
Joseph Pond, a plumber and founder of the Backyard Chicken Alliance of Cobb County, signed up to challenge Birrell.
“I feel that the people are the heart and soul of Cobb County,” Pond said. “District 3 needs a commissioner who will represent the people, not just the businesses.”
Michael Opitz, head of the Madison Forum, is also expected to jump into the race.
Some critics predict Pond and Opitz will split the anti-Birrell vote and allow her to return to office just as the three candidates who challenged Tim Lee for county chairman did with Lee two years ago. To that argument, Birrell said, “Let’s just hope that that’s a very small percentage that is anti-JoAnn Birrell, because the majority of the people in District 3, from what I’m hearing, are supportive of me and the things that I have done for the community.”
Commissioner Helen Goreham is retiring this year and two candidates signed up for her seat: former county chairman Bill Byrne and retired Marietta Assistant Fire Chief Scott Tucker.
School board candidate qualifies
For the Cobb Board of Education, Kevin Nicholas, director with PGi, a global video and audio technology company, qualified for the seat held by board member Scott Sweeney of east Cobb. Nicholas has three children enrolled in the Cobb School District.
Solicitor General Barry Morgan also qualified for re-election at the GOP headquarters.
Melissa Pike, chairwoman of the Cobb Democratic Party, said no one qualified Monday with her office because they gave up their vacation days during the snowstorms.
“Democrats work for a living,” Pike said.
Pike expects Democratic candidates to qualify later this week.
State legislators have challengers
Down at the state Capitol, Antron Johnson of Marietta, who listed his occupation as “business owner,” qualified as a Democrat to challenge state Sen. Hunter Hill (R-Smyrna).
State Rep. Rich Golick (R-Smyrna) also picked up a Democratic challenger: Erick Allen of Vinings, a workforce performance and development consultant.
Three Democrats have qualified to fill the seat being vacated by state Rep. Alisha Thomas Morgan (D-Austell), who is running for state school superintendent. They are C. “Branson” Wright of Mableton, a business owner and Army veteran; Erica Thomas, executive director of Speak Out Loud; and Monica Delancy of Austell, who lost to Lisa Cupid in the 2012 race for a seat on the Cobb Board of Commissioners.
Marietta attorney Bert Reeves signed up to challenge state Rep. Charles Gregory (R-Kennesaw) as expected.
Running for retiring Cobb Superior Court Judge Jim Bodiford’s seat is Ann Harris of Smyrna, a Cobb County senior assistant district attorney; Cobb Juvenile Court Judge Juanita Stedman, and attorney Nathan Wade.
At the federal level, former state Sen. Barry Loudermilk (R-Cassville), former Congressman Bob Barr of Smyrna and Tricia Pridemore of Marietta were the three to qualify on Monday for the seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Marietta).