County election shaping up to be very busy

14 potential candidates have qualified and several others have picked up papers; deadline next month


CELINA-Just over a dozen candidates have officially qualified for the August 5 county general election, but there have been several others who have picked up qualifying papers, paving the way for a busy election, according to election administrator Wanda Daniels as of Monday.

“The qualifying deadline is next month (April 1) and we’ve been busy so far,” she told the HORIZON Monday,  “This week should be interesting, because I’m sure we will see more (potential candidates) come through the door with it getting closer.”

Voters will be casting ballots for every major elected office except two in the quadrennial county general election.

Qualified candidates

Incumbents who have qualified include circuit court clerk Susan Birdwell, trustee Charlie Key, and register of deeds Brenda Browning–all of which are currently unopposed with no other potential candidates for their offices having picked up papers.

Seven non-incumbents have filed qualifying papers in a pair of countywide races, a half-dozen of which are vying to fill the county clerk seat being vacated by the retiring Pat Hix, who has held the office for the past 24 years (see more details in a future HORIZON).

The candidates in the running for the election’s most highly-contested race so far are Marilyn Boone, Chris Hix, Linda Key, William Lacy, Jr., Kevin Sweezy, and Donna Watson.

The seventh qualified countywide candidate is Brandon Boone for sheriff.  Incumbent James Story has yet to pick up papers and the only other potential candidate for the office is former Clay County sheriff Jerry Rhoton–who has picked up his papers, but has yet to return them for qualification.

The last four qualified candidates as of Monday were all for constable seats.  They include Jerry York in district two; Charles Maxwell in district three; and Ray Buck and Tracy Pennington in district five.  Other potential constable candidates who have picked up papers are Sherry Monday in district three and Steven Murley in district five.

Potential candidates

Several other challengers and incumbents have picked up qualifying papers, but not returned them yet, Daniels said.

Incumbent county mayor Dale Reagan, who said he “plans to file his papers this week,” heads the list of potential candidates for the office he currently holds, with Gene Collins and Tom Weir being potential challengers.

Ernest Garrison, the incumbent road superintendent, is the only potential candidate for the office he has held for the past two decades and he told the HORIZON Monday he “would definitely be filing his papers” soon.

A ‘baker’s dozen’ of potential candidates for the 10 available county commission seats have picked up qualifying papers, including incumbents Bryan Coons and Timmie Scott in district one, Michael Lee and Denzil Cherry in district two, Dorothy Burchett/Forney in district three, Winton Young in district four, and Roger Gray

and Cecil Langford in district five.

Potential challengers for the commission seats are Wayne Rich in district three, Paul “Yogi” Boles and Donald “Ike” Dyer in district four, and Michelle “Mickie” Repecka and Stephen Webb in district five.

Seven people have picked up papers for school board races in three districts–two, three, and five.

Incumbents potentially hoping to retain their seats are Bill Donaldson and David West in district three, and Liz Boles in district five.

Donaldson and West could be challenged by Anna Ruth Locke in district three and Boles may be by Nathan Lee and Doug Strong in district five, if they all file their qualifying papers.

As of Monday, Daniels said no potential candidates for the district two school board seats had picked up papers.

Voters will choose two school board members and two commissioners for each of the contested districts.

See the HORIZON weekly for election updates as the qualifying deadline nears.