Buckhead voters will go to the polls July 31 to choose nominees for the Democratic and Republican parties who will run in the general election in November. Voters also will decide whether a 1-cent sales tax should be imposed to pay for transportation projects in a 10-county region of metro Atlanta.
Here are candidates who face contested races on July 31 primary ballots.
Republican ballot
U.S. House District 11
Phil Gingrey

Phil Gingrey, (I)

Occupation: Physician
Prior public service: Marietta City School Board; Georgia Senate; elected to represent District 11 in 2002
Community he lives in: Marietta
Why he is running for office: According to his website, Gingrey says he “has remained dedicated to fighting for the common sense, conservative values of the 11th District and of Georgians everywhere.”
For more information: www.gingrey.com
William Llop

William Llop

Occupation: Certified public accountant
Prior public service: None
Lives in: Sandy Springs
Why is he running for office: I am inspired to run as a congressman because, for the past 30 years, I have consulted and advised business leaders and entrepreneurs, individuals and businesses on how to increase their economic prosperity. More importantly, I know how to increase jobs. I can do the same for our district.
For more information: www.williamllopcpaforcongress.com
Michael Opitz

Michael Opitz

Occupation: Registered mediator/arbitrator.
Prior public service: None
Community he lives in: Cobb County.
Why is he running for office: According to his website, “Michael is highly qualified to serve you in Congress. His extensive business background helped him learn effective leadership and teambuilding skills.”
For more information: www.opitzforcongress.org
Georgia Senate District 6
Josh Belinfante

Josh Belinfante

Occupation: Attorney
Prior public service: Executive and Deputy Counsel to Governor Sonny Perdue (2007-2009); Vice Chairman of the State Ethics Commission (2010-2011); Legal Counsel to House Judiciary Committee (2006); Law Clerk, Chief Judge J.L. Edmonson, 11th Circuit Court of Appeals (2003-2004)
Community he lives in: Sandy Springs
Why he is running for office: “I have been serving residents of the 6th District in private practice and public service, and I hope to continue doing so from the State Senate. The experience I have as a partner in a small law firm makes me very aware of the challenges faced by businesses every day. As importantly, the knowledge I gained as Governor Perdue’s Chief Counsel provides me with a distinct understanding of state issues and the means to get things done for the residents of Buckhead, Sandy Springs, Smyrna and Vinings.”
For more information: www.joshforsenate.com
Drew Ellenburg

Drew Ellenburg

Occupation: President, Ellenburg Chair Company
Prior public service: Deacon, Eastside Baptist Church; President, Ellenburg Chair Company
Community he lives in: Buckhead
Why he is running for office: “I am running for my children. Our government has accumulated a great amount of debt that we will be passing down to our children. We need a businessman who knows the importance of turning around our economy. I’ve built a successful business here. I know what it is like to meet a payroll in tough times and balance budgets. I will put my business experience to work for the 6th District to revive our economy by creating jobs, becoming more competitive with other states and supporting American-made products.”
For more information: http://drewellenburg.com
Hunter Hill

Hunter Hill

Occupation: Director of Security, SecurAmerica
Prior public service: Lieutenant and Captain in the U.S. Army as an Airborne Ranger: led multiple platoons and teams on three tours in Afghanistan and Iraq; Board Member, Department of Driver Services; Citizens Oversight Committee Member for the 2005 Cobb County T-SPLOST.
Community he lives in: Smyrna/Vinings
Why he is running for office: “I am running for State Senate because we need leaders in government who will fight for our founding principles of limited governments, low taxes, individual liberty and responsibility, and free enterprise. I am grateful for the leadership opportunities I have had in the military and in business, and I want to use this experience to make Georgia the most economically competitive state in the country.”
For more information: www.votehunterhill.com
Democratic ballot
U.S. House of Representatives District 5
Michael Johnson

Michael Johnson

Occupation: Lawyer
Prior public service: Fulton County Superior Court judge; prosecutor with the DeKalb County Solicitor’s Office, the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office and the State Attorney General’s Office; Chairman of Atlanta Board of Ethics
Community he lives in: Southwest Atlanta
Why he is running for office:  “Georgia’s 5th Congressional District has been my home for my entire life. My wife was raised here and our children attend public school in this district; we are committed to seeing the 5th District thrive. I have spent my professional career as a community advocate and volunteer, attorney and judge here in our district. As your next congressman, I will work diligently on the issues impacting us nationally and locally. So many Americans today are greatly dismayed by the lack of civility, bipartisanship and the dysfunctional way in which Congress continues to conduct itself; is there any wonder that Congress’ approval rating is at an all-time low of a mere 11 percent. The partisan gridlock that has engulfed Congress and brought to a screeching halt any “progress for the people” has mired this country in a state of despair, hopelessness, and doubt about our future. We deserve better and ultimately, I felt compelled to stand up for our future!”
For more information: www.michaeljohnsonforcongress.com
John Lewis

John Lewis (I)

Occupation: U.S. Congressman
Prior public service: Lewis has held the 5th District seat since 1986.
Community he lives in: Atlanta
Why he is running for office: “We must continue to stand up for equality, for women’s rights, and for our environment. We must protect our seniors and educate our children. It is time for us to get in the way. It is time for us to start some good trouble, some necessary trouble. There are people out there who want to take us back. To them I say we have come too far to turn back. There is still work to be done. We have marched together before and, as your Congressman, it’s time for us to march together again.”
For more information: www.johnlewisforcongress.com
Georgia Senate District 38 
Reginald Crossley

Reginald Crossley

Occupation: Director, Fulton County Youth Commission
Prior public service: Fulton County Dept. of Housing and Human Services
For more information: www.reginaldcrossley.com
Horacena Tate

Horacena Tate (I)

Occupation: President, Tate, Marsh and Associates, Inc. Prior public service: Seven terms in the Georgia Senate
Community she lives in: Atlanta
Why she is running for office: “I’m running for re-election and with your vote, I’ll continue to fight for public safety, lower taxes and  increased employment for all Georgians.”
For more information: www.horacenatate.com
Georgia House of Representatives District 53
Sheila Jones

Sheila Jones (I)

Occupation: Lockheed Martin Company
Prior public service: Three terms in the Georgia House
Community she lives in: Smyrna
Why she is running for office: “Improving the general quality of life in all of our communities is at the forefront of Representative Jones’ legislative duties.”
Jason Esteves

Jason Esteves

Occupation: Attorney
Prior public service: None
Community he lives in: Atlanta
Why he is running for office: As representative of House District 53, Jason will focus on three major issues: education, jobs and transportation. You can count on Jason to be a leader who will work hard for residents of District 53.
For more information: www.jasonesteves.com
Robert Patillo
Occupation: Attorney
Prior public service: None
Community he lives in: Collier Park
Why he is running for office: “In the fight for jobs, justice and an equal opportunity at the American dream, Georgia needs new leadership.”
For more information: www.patillo-for-state-house.com
Sheriff
Theodore Jackson

Theodore “Ted” Jackson (I)

Occupation: Fulton County Sheriff
Prior public service: Thirty-two years in the FBI; Interim Sheriff in 2004; Fulton County Sheriff for 3 1/2 years.
Why he is running for office: “I have used my 32 years of FBI experience, tenure as Interim Sheriff in 2004, and the last 3½ years as sheriff to restore dignity, prestige and image to the Fulton County Sheriff’s office. I have fully demonstrated proven leadership, experience, integrity, and commitment in providing strong management, competence and organizational structure.”
For more information: www.tedjacksonforsheriff2012.com
Frank L Brown

Frank L. Brown

Prior public service:  Ten years as East Point’s Chief of Police,; 27 years jail management; 32 years law enforcement management and supervision; 39
years member of East Point Police Department.
Why he is running for office: Brown, motivated by the murder of his teenage son, dedicated his life to reducing crime, and mentoring youth. “My model is proven to enhance strong enforcement; promote safety in jails; save millions in taxpayers’ dollars and save children; while eliminating overcrowding and inhumane treatment of inmates. I bring more than 27 years of impeccable, direct hands-on jail management experience.”
For more information: www.franklbrown2012.org  
Curtis Farmer

Curtis S. Farmer

Occupation: Supervisor, Fulton County Sheriff’s office
Prior public service: 24 years with the Fulton County Sheriff’s office; 20 years as a supervisor.
Community he lives in: East Point
Why he is running for office: Farmer believes fiscal responsibility and a unique cost-saving plan to build a new jail are the key needs of the Fulton County Sheriff’s Department.  “By relying on outdated policies and practices, and allowing revenue derived from fines to go largely unpaid, our law enforcement leaders are basically throwing tax dollars away,” Farmer said.
For more information: www.farmerforsheriff.com
Richard Lankford

Richard Lankford

Prior public service: 25 years’ experience as deputy sheriff in Indiana and Georgia; captain in the Fulton County Sheriff’s Department; former Fulton County Sheriff.
Why he is running for office:  “I have the knowledge, the experience and the track record to make these promises a reality! My commitment as sheriff — to bring the operations of the Fulton County Jail to an acceptable and efficient level of compliance and safety for the judges, attorneys, deputies, public defenders, inmates and the citizens of Fulton County as it was when I was privileged to be sheriff;  to  restore a sense of pride and dignity to the department; to work in cooperation with judges … [and] other county officials to effectively implement a workable master security plan for the courthouse.”
For more information: www.richardlankfordforsheriff.com
Charles Shelton

Charles Shelton

Occupation: Retired law enforcement officer
Prior public service: Safety Chair, Neighborhood Planning Unit H
Community he lives in: Atlanta
Why he is running for office: “I’m the right man at the right time for the job for renewed safety and citizen confidence in the sheriff’s office.”
Tax Commissioner
Arthur Ferdinand

Arthur Ferdinand (I)

Occupation:  Fulton County Tax Commissioner
Community he lives in:  Fulton County
Why he is running for office:  “The office of Tax Commissioner has given me the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of Fulton County residents by consistently maintaining a high collection rate so that the county, schools, and cities for which I collect taxes can depend on and be confident that the funds needed to provide the services taxpayers expect will be delivered.  I am running to continue keeping the collection rate high so that all taxpayers benefit from a low taxing rate; to continue the transformation of the tax office for convenience and accessibility to all Fulton County residents; and to continue to use common sense and my knowledge of tax laws to balance the demands of the office of Tax Commissioner and obligations to taxpayers.”
Prior public service: Eight years Tax Commissioner of Fulton County
For more information: www.arthurferdinand.org
John Jamont

John Jamont

Occupation:  homebuilder
Prior Public Service: none
Community he lives in: Johns Creek
Why he is running for office: “John believes people want fair taxation. Like other taxpayers, John’s property values plummeted and tax assessments had to be adjusted. He believes tax payers would like to pay their taxes on time to avoid extra charges and penalties. For many residents of Fulton County, property taxes have become a nightmare. John has witnessed countless errors by the tax office. He has met with delinquent taxpayers and realized the heartbreaking stories that have evolved from red tape government errors. …  As a victim of a wrongful foreclosure, John will make every effort to notify the rightful owner of each and every delinquent taxpayer. “
For more information: www.electjamont.com
Royce John Morris
Occupation: Real estate investor
Community he lives in: Atlanta
Prior public service: Lobbied Georgia Legislature as a taxpayer advocate to conduct a study on Fulton County neighborhoods.
Why he is running for office: “It’s time to restore the tax commissioner position to the people. Arthur Ferdinand … must go! Help me be your taxpayer advocate!”
For more information: http://electrjmorris.com/
Solicitor General
Carmen Smith

Carmen Smith (I)

Occupation: Fulton County Solicitor General
Prior public service: Elected to the Office of Solicitor General in 1996 and re-elected in 2000, 2004 and 2008.
Community she lives in: South Atlanta
Why she is running for office: “I have served as Fulton County’s Solicitor General since 1997.  As Solicitor General, I prosecute misdemeanors for Fulton County, state misdemeanor crimes, and determine which cases are able to be prosecuted. I’m dedicated to protecting the rights of the victims of crimes, enforcing Georgia law, making fair prosecuting decisions, and holding defendants accountable for their conduct. Join us in support of our effort to make Fulton County a better and safer place.”
For more information: www.keepcarmen.org, (404) 202-7826
Teri Walker

Teri Walker

Occupation: Senior Assistant Solicitor General in DeKalb County
Prior public service: Worked in solicitor’s offices of Atlanta, Fulton County, and DeKalb County
Why she is running for office: “I believe that I was born to advocate for people who can’t advocate for themselves. That’s one of the reasons I became a prosecutor. My campaign for solicitor general is about modernizing criminal prosecution to address the current criminal climate. That would include adding a layer of structure to the current office, creating specialized criminal prosecution units and better employing technology in the process. I want to restore integrity and respect in the Fulton County Judicial System by being smart on crime and smarter on crime prevention.”
Clerk of Superior Court
Cathelene Tina Robinson

Cathelene “Tina” Robinson (I)

Occupation: Clerk of the Superior Court (Incumbent)
Prior Public Service: 5 years as clerk; worked previously in Fulton’s Health Department and Tax Commisioner’s office
Community she lives in: Atlanta
More information: www.fcclk.org
Boyd C. Chisolm
Occupation: President and CEO, Bakka International Corporation
Prior Public Service: Served in the Office of the Fulton County Clerk of Superior Court
Community he lives in: Atlanta
Reason for running:  “I need your help as we take bold steps to make the Justice System more friendly for all Fulton County residents.”
More information: boydchisholm.com
Rodney Fowler

Rodney J. Fowler

Occupation: Supervisor, Fulton County Clerk of Superior Court’s Office
Community he lives in: Southwest Atlanta
Reason for running: “I will work for you to improve the quality and standard of customer service in the office of the clerk of Superior Court.”
More Information: www.rodneyfowler.net
Lewis Pittman

Lewis L. Pittman

Prior public service: Case manager for Superior Court
Community he lives in: South Fulton County
Reason for running: “I am running again for the office of the clerk of Superior Court because I believe I can improve the functionality and operations of a Fulton County department that affects the lives and livelihood of many citizens in Fulton County.”
More information: www.lewispittman.org
Sources: candidates’ campaign websites, candidates’ responses