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Qualifying ends today at noon for the special election to fill the vacancy brought on by the death of Rep. Charlie Norwood (R).

As of 4 p.m. Wednesday, 10 candidates had filed for the all-party June 19 election — six Republicans, three Democrats and one Libertarian.

State Sen. Jim Whitehead (R) is the odds-on favorite to succeed Norwood, who died from cancer complications on Feb. 13. Whitehead’s main GOP opponent appears to be Athens physician Paul Broun, the son and namesake of a former Democratic state Senator.

Among Democrats, businessman James Marlow is viewed as the leading contender.

If no candidate gets more than 50 percent of the vote, a July 17 runoff will be held. However, the strong conservative bend of the district leaves little question that the seat will remain in GOP hands.

National Democrats have not targeted the race as a pickup opportunity.

— Lauren W. Whittington

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