Gwinnett voters have several races that go to runoffs Tuesday

Gwinnett County residents cast their votes during the Georgia primary elections at Pleasant Hill Presbyterian Church in Duluth on Tuesday, June 9, 2020. A runoff will be held Tuesday. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com) AJC FILE PHOTO
Gwinnett County residents cast their votes during the Georgia primary elections at Pleasant Hill Presbyterian Church in Duluth on Tuesday, June 9, 2020. A runoff will be held Tuesday. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com) AJC FILE PHOTO

Credit: Hyosub Shin

Credit: Hyosub Shin

Voters all over Gwinnett County will have reasons to go to the polls for Tuesday’s runoff election.

Democrats have the most choices to make, with countywide races for sheriff, tax commissioner and commission chairman.

District 3 residents — an area that includes the east side of the county, from Snellville to Braselton — will be able to cast a vote for a new county commissioner whether they’re Democrats or Republicans.

And a nonpartisan judicial race will be on every ballot.

In the sheriff’s race, Curtis Clemons and Keybo Taylor will face off for the chance to face Republican Lou Solis in November. The winner will replace Sheriff Butch Conway, who isn’t seeking reelection.

Clemons, 55, retired from the Gwinnett County Police Department last year as assistant chief over the support operations division — a role in which he said he gained the administrative experience a sheriff needs, along with the ability to manage large budgets.

In response to the coronavirus pandemic and as a cost-saving measure, Clemons said he would like to reduce the jail population by releasing some inmates. He also wants to push bail and bond reform, so people aren’t held in jail because they can’t afford to pay their way out. And Clemons said he wants to focus on crisis intervention and increased social services to help with mental health issues.

Both Clemons and Taylor said they would like to eliminate the controversial 287(g) program, which lets deputies check the immigration status and place ICE detainers on foreign-born arrestees who are charged with committing a local crime and brought to the county jail.

Taylor, 60, had a 26-year career with the Gwinnett police and retired as a major. He has worked as a substitute teacher and now owns a gym with his son. Taylor said his experience outside law enforcement is beneficial to the community.

He wants to improve mental health policies to offer more treatment options instead of taking people to jail. Taylor said he wants to offer more crisis intervention training and expand partnerships to religious and community leaders. He wants a command staff that’s more reflective of Gwinnett County’s diverse population. And he wants to identify deputies that should not be in law enforcement and get them out.

Nicole Love Hendrickson announced her plan to run for chair of the Gwinnett County commission. CONTRIBUTED
Nicole Love Hendrickson announced her plan to run for chair of the Gwinnett County commission. CONTRIBUTED

Lee Thompson Jr. is running for Gwinnett Commission Chair. LEEFORGWINNETT.COM
Lee Thompson Jr. is running for Gwinnett Commission Chair. LEEFORGWINNETT.COM

In the race for chairman of the Gwinnett County commission, Nicole Love Hendrickson is facing Lee Thompson Jr. to replace retiring Chairman Charlotte Nash. The winner will face Republican David Post in November.

Hendrickson finished just shy of 50% of the vote and Thompson, a city attorney, said he was suspending his campaign and urging his supporters to vote for Hendrickson.

If elected, Thompson said previously his main priority is to encourage better land use and improve the zoning process. Hendrickson, the former director of the county’s community outreach program, said she wants to improve inequities in the county, with a focus on food insecurity and workforce development.

In the tax commissioner’s race, Regina M. Carden will face Tiffany Porter in the runoff. The winner will be on the ballot against Republican incumbent Richard Steele.

The Democrats vying for the District 3 commission seat are Jasper Watkins III and Derrick J. Wilson.

Watkins, 61, nearly knocked off Republican Tommy Hunter in his 2016 reelection bid. A pharmaceutical consultant who retired from the Army, Watkins said he wants residents in the district to feel that their voices are heard.

If elected, Watkins wants to improve emergency preparedness planning and work to bring large corporations to the county by promoting smaller businesses. He said he is in favor of transit, but wants more connections outside the I-85 corridor and doesn’t believe MARTA should control the system.

Both Watkins and Wilson said they are optimistic about the county’s financial prospects following the pandemic. Wilson, 34, said he wants to improve economic development opportunities and transportation options in the district. He’s in favor of the county’s transit expansion plan, but said he’d like even more transit options in the area.

Wilson, who owns a financial services company and works as an insurance adjuster, said he wants to build relationships with mayors in the district. He also wants to duplicate in other parts of the county an entrepreneurship center that’s opening in Lawrenceville.

Among Republicans, Ben Archer and Matt DeReimer are the choices in the district. Archer, 53, has been a member of the planning commission since January and works in information management for the county schools. He said he’s running because he sees infrastructure improvements that could be made in the area, and while he doesn’t think MARTA is right for the area, he’s torn on transit. Archer also said he thinks the area has been under-served and wants to be more present as a representative.

DeReimer declined an interview request, but said in an email that he wants to improve representation in the area. He also said he is opposed to MARTA but in favor of Gwinnett operating its own system. He wants to bridge gaps between local government and residents.

Incumbent Gwinnett Superior Court Judge Kathryn "Kathy" Schrader is running for reelection. Her website is https://judgekathyschrader.com/
Incumbent Gwinnett Superior Court Judge Kathryn "Kathy" Schrader is running for reelection. Her website is https://judgekathyschrader.com/

Credit: SUBMITTED

Credit: SUBMITTED

Magistrate Judge Deborah Fluker is running for Gwinnett County Superior Court Judge. JUDGEFLUKER.COM
Magistrate Judge Deborah Fluker is running for Gwinnett County Superior Court Judge. JUDGEFLUKER.COM

In the judicial race, Superior Court Judge Kathryn “Kathy” Schrader is battling Deborah Fluker to keep her seat.

Schrader has been charged with three counts of felony computer trespass in a convoluted case involving accusations that she provided a private investigator and two contractors improper access to the Gwinnett County computer network. She was due to be retried in April after a mistrial in February, but the pandemic has delayed the trial.

A campaign representative and an attorney representing her responded to a requested interview with Schrader, though the judge did not. In an email, she said she was running for re-election to reduce recidivism, implement justice reform, improve outcomes for those who appeared before her and disrupt cycles of abuse, addiction and violence. Schrader was first elected in 2012.

Fluker, a magistrate judge since 2016 who has been sitting in Superior Court by designation, said she has the experience to immediately take on the role. She said she’s running against Schrader because she is concerned that an elected judge is not currently overseeing the office’s judicial responsibilities. Fluker said she has ideas for how to get the courts running again post-pandemic.