August 29, 2013

Laird, Perez to vie for spot on Dalton school board

Varnell gets mayoral race

By Christopher Smith

— Qualifying for several positions in Whitfield and Murray counties ended on Wednesday, leaving several candidates without opposition for Nov. 5, Election Day, but there will be some contested races locally.

Qualifying for some cities continues through Friday.


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 on 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.

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. The post is currently held by Wayne Graves, who didn’t qualify on Wednesday, City Clerk Wilma Nolan said.

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

Qualifying continues at City Hall today and Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The qualifying fee for City Council is $144.


Qualifying in Cohutta began on Wednesday. No one qualified, said an administrative assistant at the law office of Todd Johnson where qualifying is taking place.

The position of mayor, currently held by Don Henderson, as well as two seats on the City Council — one held by Ben Manis and one held most recently by Gabriel Powers — are up for election in November.

Qualifying continues today and Friday from 10 a.m. to noon and from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.


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 or Wednesday, 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 continues today and Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at City Hall. 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 vie 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.