FITZGERALD -- With the retirement of long-time sheriff Thurman Ellis, six candidates have entered the race to replace him in Ben Hill County.
Qualifying ended around the area for local offices that are up for election this year. In Fitzgerald, all six of the candidates vying for Ellis's position are Democrats, meaning a new sheriff will be elected during the July 20 primary election. Don Bennett, Bobby Clark, Lee Cone, Michael Gaulden, Bobby L. McLemore and Jimmy Nolan all qualified to run for the spot.
Fitzgerald will have only one local partisan race on the ballot in November as the rest will be decided in July. Of all candidates who qualified this week, only one was a Republican and the rest were Democrats. In the race for Tax Commissioner, Republican Allen Cleghorn will face the winner the Democratic primary which will include Linda McDonald, Daphanie Spadlin, Jim Turner and Felecia K. Young. Incumbent county commission chairman Larry E. Davis will face Alvie Dorminy and Charles Smith for that spot.
Terry McDonald will face incumbent Kathy Davis for the District 3, Post 2 on the county commission while Delene Bishop challenges incumbent Richard Goodman, Sr. for the the District 1, Post 1 spot on the commission.
Other incumbents who qualified to run for office include Shirley R. Ely, Magistrate Court Judge; Laverne D. Wheeler, Clerk of Court; Darrell Weeks, County Surveyor; and John B. "Johnny" Burch, Jr., Coroner.
Incumbent Tommy Ash faces Shellah Owens for the Probate Court Judge position.
Candidates also qualified for the county's non-partisan election for seats on the school board. Theresa M. Davis is running for District 4 seat against incumbent Sherry Sue Davis. Carl Stanley, the incumbent, will face Al Johnson District 5 seat while incumbent Tony Herlovich will face Anne K. Woods for the District 6 seat. Those races will be decided in November.
Irwin County sheriff Donnie Youghn will face Ronald Dixon in the Democratic primary and the winner will face either Republican George Richardson or Republican Morris Smith.
In county commission races, Republicans Danny Haire and J.V. Revels will run against each other in the primary and the winner will face the winner of Democrats Bobby David Adkinson, Jr. and Martin James Cocchiara for the District 1 post. Republican Richard Cargile is seeking the District 2 post against Democrat Larry Harper. Democratic incumbent Tony Hutto faces Democrat Jimmie Lee Moss for the District 4 post. Chairman Armond Morris, a Democrat, seeks re-election against Democrat Joey Whitley in the primary with the winner to face Bob Bon Enfant in the general election.
Democratic incumbent Jennie Smith Turner will face Charlie Allen Gay for the Probate Judge position in the primary and the winner will face Republican Phillip Carroll Singletary. Democrat Charlie Allen Gay and Republican Phillip Carroll Singletary are running for Probate Judge. Democratic incumbent Virginia (Jennie) Smith Turner will seek re-election.
Running unopposed are Sandra D. Paulk, Tax Commissioner; Sharon H. Martin, Clerk of Superior Court; Paula T. Daniels, Magistrate Judge; Jimmy Bullington, coroner; Aldene Tyson, County commission District 3; Gary Paulk, Board of Education District 4 and Lamar Purvis, BOE District 2.
Five County Commission seats will be up for grabs this year with no unopposed races.
In the Post 1 race, Democrats Elner Bragdon and Garvie Nichols, Sr. face off in July while incumbent Steve Roberts, Greg McClellan, Gene Bradford and Timothy Smith, all Democrats, seek the Post 2 spot.
Republicans Paul Newbern and Jimmy Parker are both running for Post 3 spot while Republicans Robert Griner and Michael Powe and Democrats Wayne Roberts, the incumbent, and Donnie Vaughn are vying for Post 4 seat.
In the Post 5 race, Democratic incumbent James Griner faces Republican Joseph Meeks.
In the sheriff's race, longtime incumbent Jerry Brogdon will face Timmy Jernigan in the Democratic primary with the winner to face either Republican Jeston Connell or Ben Davis. Democrat Lorene Dorminey, the incumbent, will face Democrat Jason Nugent for the Tax Commissioner position.
In the only other contested race, Democrats Steven Mathis and Laura Boone are running for the school board Post 7 seat.
In unopposed races, Carol Ross is running for Clerk of Superior Court, Susan Griner is running for Probate Court Judge, Bob Lovein is running for Coroner, John Hogan is running for Surveyor, Lamar Vickers is running for the BOE Post 1 and Keith Pitts is running for the BOE Post 3 and Dee Dorsey Shiver is running for the BOE Post 6.
The County Commission District 4 post drew the most candidates in this week's qualifying as incumbent David Young will face Jimmy Bullington in the Republican primary with the winner to face Democrat Mike Geoghagen in the general election.
Sheriff Randy Kendrick will face Lester Boutwell in the Democratic primary while incumbent Shirley P. Brock will face Steve House in the race for Tax Commissioner. Both are Democrats.
Unopposed races include Linda House, Clerk of Superior Court; Craig E. Poole, Chief Magistrate; Edgar F. Perry, Coroner; Penny E. Thomas, Probate Court Judge; Samuel G. Brown, Board of Education, District 2; Tony K. Land, Board of Education, District 4; Robert Daniel Godwin, Board of Education, District 5; Daryl Hall, County Commission, District 2; Deral Dukes, County Commission, District 3; John Holland, State Court Judge and Stephen L. Ivie, Solicitor General.
Four of the five county commission races have opposition with only Ken Rountree running unopposed for his District 5 post.
In the District 1 race, Democrat Debra Robinson will face Willie D. Batchelor, the incumbent, while Michael Dinnerman, the incumbent, will face fellow Democrat Ralph Griffis in the District 2 race.
Democrat Tim Giddens, Sr., the incumbent, will face Jeff Lane in the Democratic primary for the District 3 commission post while incumbent Buck Bennett faces Brett Kelly and Sam Raulerson for the District 4 post. All are Democrats.
The Coroner's race features four candidates -- Ron Lipsey, Vera Baldree, Derry Bennett, Jr. and Stephen Peacock. Incumbent Donnie Simmons and Kevin Betts, both Democrats, are vying for the office of Tax Commissioner while incumbent Chlois J. Lollis faces fellow Democrat Missi Alley.
Sheriff Charlie Bryant, Sr. seeks re-election against fellow Democrat Johnny Daughtery while Democrats Thomas McDowell, the incumbent, and Reba Durden will face each other in the only opposed school board race for the District 1 seat.
Running unopposed are Louise Cowart, Probate Judge; Susan Griffin, District 2 school board; Danny Emrich, school board District 4.
Sheriff Freddie Tompkins, a Democrat, is seeking another term in office and will face Tommy Adams and Nelson Hufstetler in the primary with the winner to meet Republican Tony Strenth in the general election.
In the race for Magistrate Judge, incumbent Jean Powers will run against Beverly Wilson in the Democratic primary while Bonnie Douthit and Lydia Harris will face off in the Republican primary. Democrats Dan Miller, the incumbent, and Buford Kennedy are vying for the chairmanship of the county commission while incumbent Joe Gaines, Tony Hall and Lonnie "Jimmy" Nipper, all Democrats, are running for the District 1 post on the commission.
In school board races, two spots are up for election this year. Republican incumbent Jerry Jones faces Lynn Willis for the District 2 seat while Democrat Alice Blackwell and Republican Mike Roberts will face off for the District 3 seat in November.
Three candidates are running for the Coroner's position. Incumbent George Whiddon faces John Johnson in the Democratic primary with the winner to meet Republican Lynda Goff Howard in November.
In unopposed races, Virginia Andrews is running for Probate Judge; JoAnn Powell is running for Clerk of Court; Tabetha DuPriest is running for Tax Commissioner; Clark Landrum is running for State Court Solicitor; incumbent Clarence Miller is running for State Court Judge and incumbent Roger Medders is seeking the office of Surveyor.
The general election will be held on November 2.
To contact reporter Lisa A. Lewis, call 382-4321, ext. 207.
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