The first Democratic candidate for a local election this year announced her plans Thursday at the monthly Floyd County Democratic Party meeting.

Business owner Shonna Bailey said she intends to run for Floyd County Commission Post 3.

Bailey said she was born and raised in Floyd County. She owns and operates Shonna Bailey Real Estate Consulting Firm and also works as a hospice medical social worker.

Republican Allison Watters, who currently holds the Post 3 seat, announced her run for a second term last month.

Qualifying for the 2020 elections will take place March 2-6.

Kevin Van Ausdal also attended the meeting and talked about his plans to run for Georgia’s 14th Congressional District. He’s the only Democrat who has announced a run for the seat, which already has nine Republicans vying for their party’s nomination.

Van Ausdal said his major campaign focuses include creating a single-payer national health insurance program; protecting and stabilizing Social Security; addressing tax inequalities; raising the minimum wage; and getting a handle on gun violence.

While Van Ausdal advocates for universal background checks and closing gun show loopholes, he strongly rejects the need for a federal registry.

His website says he wants to open NICS — the National Instant Criminal Background Check System — for private sales “to allow everyone to sell firearms with confidence.”

Floyd Democrats also discussed the other local offices to be filled in November. They currently don’t have any candidates other than Bailey but members want to contest more seats.

The group plans to host a meet-and-greet with local and state candidates on March 5 at 7 p.m. at the Northwest Georgia Housing Authority Community Room on North Division Street.

♦ The ninth Republican candidate for the 14th District congressional race announced his run Thursday.

Bill Hembree is the fifth to launch his bid from outside the Northwest Georgia district. The Douglas County Republican is a former state representative who represented District 67, which includes Douglasville and Villa Rica.

“I am a conservative Republican and a patriot who believes in the foundation of our country ... with a passion for serving my home state and protecting the identity of America,” Hembree stated in his campaign announcement.

He described himself as “one of the original Republican lawmakers to actively campaign for President Trump in the 2016 Presidential election” and stated he is anchored by his Christian faith, love of family and led by conservative values.

The congressional district covers Floyd, Polk, Catoosa, Chattooga, Dade, Gordon, Haralson, Murray, Paulding, Walker, Whitfield and portions of Pickens County.

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