By Christopher Smith
As area election qualifying ended on Friday, several more candidates will be unchallenged on Nov. 5, Election Day, while a handful of contests were made official.
For the City Council, Tate O’Gwin was the only person to qualify for the Ward 2 seat currently held by Dick Lowrey, who is not seeking re-election. Jafar Ware, who qualified for Ward 4, will face incumbent Gary Crews.
Pablo Perez will compete for a seat on the Board of Education against Steve Laird. The winner will replace Mark Orr, who is not seeking re-election. Sherwood Jones III was the only individual to qualify for the seat currently held by Steve Williams, who is also not seeking re-election.
Seats on the city school board are not divided by area as they are on the Whitfield Board of Education.
Incumbent Celeste Martin qualified on Friday and is unchallenged for Post 1 on the City Council.
Brad Rowe, vice chair of organizational development for the Chatsworth-Murray County Chamber of Commerce, qualified to run for Post 2 on Wednesday. The post is currently held by Wayne Graves who is not running again.
Ron Shinnick qualified on Wednesday to run unopposed for mayor, a position currently held by Don Henderson. Henderson did not qualify and is not seeking re-election.
Wesley Mahan qualified on Friday to run for a seat on the Town Council, which has two seats up for election. Ben Manis qualified on Wednesday to run for re-election for a council seat, while Greg Fowler qualified on Thursday to run as well. One seat was vacant after Gabriel Powers left the council when he moved from Cohutta. The top two candidates who receive the most votes on Nov. 5 will be elected to those seats.
There will be “no election in Eton,” City Clerk Kim Hall said.
Mayor Billy Cantrell is running unopposed for a second term and qualified on Monday. Incumbent Steve Shaw qualified on Friday to run unopposed for Post 2 on the City Council, while Anthony Ridley, who also qualified on Friday, will run uncontested for the vacant Post 1.
The three incumbents on the City Council up for re-election are unchallenged this year.
On Monday, Ray Anderson, the incumbent for Post 3, and Mayor Kenny Gowin, the incumbent for Post 5, qualified. Alfred “Hub” Griffin qualified on Tuesday for re-election for Post 4. The City Council elects the mayor from among the council members.
Anthony Hulsey will run against David Owens for mayor after Hulsey qualified on Wednesday. Owens resigned from Seat 5 on the City Council when he qualified to run for mayor on Monday. Current Mayor Dan Peeples is not seeking re-election.
Qualifying for Seat 5 will be Tuesday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at City Hall. Because Owens resigned in the middle of a four-year term, whoever is elected to replace him will serve two years before another election, City Clerk Pam Garrison said.
Jan Pourquoi and Michael Willocks qualified on Tuesday for Seat 2 on the City Council. Both have not held office in Varnell before, Garrison said, adding that Seat 2 is currently held by Brent Newsome, who is not seeking re-election.
Ashlee Godfrey qualified on Monday and will be unchallenged for Seat 1, which is currently held by James Caldwell. Caldwell is also not running again for office this year.