DALTON, Ga. -- Out of 13 positions on the November ballot in Whitfield County, only two will be contested. One is the Dalton mayoral race.
Nine incumbents are running unopposed for school board and City Council positions in a county where elected officials frequently decry the apathy and disinterest of voters.
Neighboring Murray County produced more candidates, with 10 candidates running in five city council and mayoral races. Only one incumbent is running unopposed.
Qualifying for races in both counties ended Friday.
"I don't think that speaks well for the political process in Whitfield County and is one of the reasons we have one of the lowest voter turnouts in the state," Dalton Mayor David Pennington said when asked about the uncontested races.
Pennington picked up an opponent Friday afternoon when Joel Goldberg filed to run for mayor.
Pennington, an outspoken mayor who touts slashed millage rates and budget savings, is considered a strong candidate. However, he recently garnered the ire of some officials in Whitfield County with his opposition to any increases in local sales taxes.
Late Friday afternoon, Pennington said he did not know enough about Goldberg to discuss their differences.
"I think people know what my positions are and what we've done," Pennington said. "If they want that, they can vote for me, and if they don't, they need to elect someone else."
Goldberg did not return messages left at his office and home Friday afternoon.
Denise Wood and Georgia Sadosuk both filed for re-election for Dalton City Council. Both will run unopposed.
Incumbents Tulley Johnson, Danny Crutchfield and Richard Fromm will run unopposed for three positions on the Dalton City School board.
In Tunnel Hill, incumbents Jim Griffin and Gene Adamson have qualified for two City Council positions. Both will run unopposed.
Incumbents Allan Pippin and David Owens are running unopposed for Seats 3 and 5 on the Varnell City Council. Sheldon Fowler has qualified for a special election to fill Seat 4, after Council Member Mark Fidler died in June. That term ends in December, and Fowler also will run for the term beginning in January.
Three people, Ron Shinnick, Shelia Rose and Wesley Mahan, qualified to run for two positions on the Cohutta City Council. The two top vote-getters in the three-way race will be elected. Shinnick and Rose are incumbents.
In Murray County, Dan Penland is running for Chatsworth mayor. Current Mayor Tyson Haynes is not seeking re-election.
In the race for Chatsworth City Council, Jeremy Callaway and Jeff Cloer will challenge incumbent Gary Brock for Post 3. Incumbent Fred Welch is running unopposed for Post 4.
Five people are running for two City Council positions in Eton. Incumbent Jim Bartley is facing off against Robert Bushue and Allan Lyles for Post 3. Roger Ensley has challenged incumbent Joan Dooley for Post 4.
Mariann Martin covers healthcare in Chattanooga and the surrounding region. She joined the Times Free Press in February 2011, after covering crime and courts for the Jackson (Tenn.) Sun for two years. Mariann was born in Indiana, but grew up in Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Belize. She graduated from Union University in 2005 with degrees in English and history and has master’s degrees in international relations and history from the University of Toronto. While attending Union, ...