August 30, 2013

Qualifying ends today

By Christopher Smith

— As election qualifying ends today, most local candidates will run uncontested on Nov. 5, Election Day, while some positions currently don’t have candidates to run for them.

Today is the final day to determine if there will be any more contested races and if some positions will have a special election.


Qualifying for the city of Dalton ended on Wednesday.

For the City Council, Tate O’Gwin, who qualified on Monday, was the only candidate to qualify for the Ward 2 seat currently held by Dick Lowrey, who is not seeking re-election.

Jafar Ware, who qualified on Tuesday for Ward 4, will face incumbent Gary Crews, who qualified on Monday.

Pablo Perez, who qualified on Wednesday, will compete for a seat on the Board of Education against Steve Laird, who qualified on Monday. The winner will replace Mark Orr, who is not seeking re-election.

Sherwood Jones III, who qualified Monday, was the only candidate 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.


Qualifying in Chatsworth began on Wednesday.

No one qualified on Thursday, City Clerk Wilma Nolan said.

Brad Rowe, vice chair of organizational development for the Chatsworth-Murray County Chamber of Commerce, qualified to run for Post 2 on the City Council Wednesday. The post is currently held by Wayne Graves, who hasn’t qualified, Nolan said.

Post 1, held by Celeste Martin, is also up for election. No one qualified for that post on Wednesday, Nolan said.

Qualifying is at City Hall today from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. If no one qualifies for Post 1, city officials will have to “review to see what to do” about the potential vacancy on the council, Nolan said.

The qualifying fee for City Council is $144.


Qualifying in Cohutta began on Wednesday. Ron Shinnick qualified Wednesday to run for mayor, a position currently held by Don Henderson.

Ben Manis also qualified Wednesday to run for re-election for a seat on Town Council. Greg Fowler qualified Thursday to run for a council seat most recently held by Gabriel Powers, who left the seat when he moved from Cohutta.

The top two candidates who receive the most votes will be elected to those seats if more candidates qualify today.

Qualifying is today from 10 a.m. to noon and from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. at the law office of Todd Johnson where qualifying is taking place.


Qualifying began on Monday in Eton. Mayor Billy Cantrell is running for a second term and qualified on Monday. No one qualified to run on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday, said an assistant clerk at City Hall.

The City Council has two posts up for election, one vacant (Post 1) and one held by Steve Shaw (Post 2). No one has qualified for either of those positions yet.

Qualifying is today from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at City Hall.

If no one qualifies to run for those positions, the seats will become vacant and will go into special election held in March, City Clerk Kim Hall said. If that’s the case, city officials will announce new qualifying days, Hall added.

The qualifying fees are $117 for City Council and $156 for mayor.

Tunnel Hill

Qualifying ended on Wednesday in Tunnel Hill. The three incumbents on the City Council up for re-election will be 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.


Qualifying ended on Wednesday in Varnell.

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, Sept. 3, through Thursday, Sept. 5, 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.

Michael Willocks and Jan Pourquoi 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.