Cordele Dispatch, Cordele, GA

Local news

May 16, 2014

Eligibility question arises in county commission race

Cordele — The five-member Crisp County Board of Elections and Registrations was to hold a 10 a.m. meeting today to determine the eligibility of one of three candidates for District 2, Post 1 on the Crisp County Commission.

Among those seeking the office are incumbent Wallace Mathis and challengers Carl Brown and Brent Willis.

Elections supervisor Brenda Turner declined to reveal the identity of the candidate in question but said an eligibility decision will be made after the meeting scheduled for Room 103 in the old Crisp County Courthouse. The session is open to the public.

“The board will listen to what the candidate in question has to say and will then make a determination on whether to disqualify him or confirm that he is indeed eligible to seek office,” Turner said.

The issue at hand reportedly centers on non-payment of back taxes.

“The Georgia Constitution says that if you’re in default on federal, state, school or local taxes that presents an ineligibility that can be erased either by making a full payment or setting up a payment plan,” Turner said.

In the event the candidate in question withdraws or is ruled ineligible, any votes cast for him will not be counted and notices to that effect will be attached to each voting machine.

“No ineligibility exists at this point so at the moment it’s voting as usual,” said Turner who added that early voting closes today at 5 p.m. and that polls will be open on Tuesday from 7 a.m.-7 p.m.

Early voting has been slow, noted Turner, who said that in the three weeks it has been allowed only around 600 votes have been cast.

“Based upon the turnout thus far, I don’t anticipate a heavy vote on Tuesday,” Turner said. “A lot of voters like to wait until the last minute before casting their ballots so I do hope voting will pick up.”

Voters must choose to vote either Republican or Democratic Party when going to the polls and in the event of a subsequent run-off must stay with the party they initially chose.

In addition to the county commission battle, another contested local race is at the Democratic Party level where incumbent Erskine Weaver has opposition from Charles C. Kerr.

The 148th District State Representative battle matches incumbent O. Hall “Buddy” Harden against Emmett R. “Randy” Head while the 13th District State Senator race pits Republicans Bryce A. Johnson against G.M. “Greg” Kirk.

Republican candidates for U.S. Senate are Paul Collins Broun, Arthur A. “Art” Gardner, J.P. “Phil” Gingrey, Derrick E. Grayson, Karen C. Handel, J.H. “Jack” Kingston and David A. Perdue. Democratic candidates for that post include O. “Steen” Miles, M. Michelle Nunn, Branko “Rad” Radulovacki and Todd Anthony Robinson.

While Republicans must choose from the trio of gubernatorial candidates John D. Barge, incumbent J. Nathan Deal and David E. Pennington III, Jason J. Carter is the only Democratic candidate for governor.

The Republican ballot also includes contested races for state school superintendent where Mary Kay Bacallao, Ashley D. Bell, Michael L. “Mike” Buck, Sharyl H. Dawes, Allen Bowles Fort, Nancy T. Jester, T. Fitz Johnson, Kira G. Willis and Richard L. Woods.

Democratic candidates for that office are Tarnisha L. Dent, Marion Spencer “Denise” Freeman, Jurita Forehand Mays, Alisha Thomas Morgan, R. “Rita” Robinzine and Valerie D. Wilson.

Two other contested Democratic races come at Secretary of State where Gerald B. Beckum is opposed by Doreen Carter and at Commissioner of Insurance where Keith G. Heard has opposition from Elizabeth N. “Liz” Johnson.

Republicans also have a Public Service Commissioner choice from among Douglas T. Kidd, Charles C. “Craig” Lutz and Lauren W. “Bubba” McDonald and a contested U.S. Representative from the Second Congressional District race between Vivian L. Childs and Gregory P. “Greg” Duke.

There are numerous other uncontested races in both parties while those voting Democrat also are asked for responses to four other questions posed.

The first is if Georgia should raise the state minimum wage about the current $5.15 an hour. The second is should Georgian’s federal tax dollars be returned to Georgia to fund Medicaid expansion and relieve the indigent care burden on hospitals.

A third query posed is should the state’s constitution be amended to create an independent ethics commission, not tied to the governor’s office, legislature or other elected office in order to more effectively police ethics violations by elected officials.

The final question asked is if the state’s constitution should be amended to make the education budget Georgia’s first funding priority.


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