published Friday, August 30th, 2013

North Georgia candidates qualify for local races

Candidates have qualified to run for local office in Catoosa, Walker, Dade and Whitfield counties in Georgia and will square off on Election Day, Nov. 5

Or not -- as is likely the case in Ringgold, Ga.

Only two candidates qualified for two open seats on the Ringgold City Council: incumbent councilman Randall Franks and Jake Haynes. The latter seeks the seat held by G. Larry Black, who isn't seeking re-election after suffering a serious stroke.

"Unless we get a write-in next week, we don't have to hold the election," City Clerk Judy Pace said.

Competition is stiffer in Fort Oglethorpe, where at least two contestants are running for each open seat on City Council.

Fort Oglethorpe Election Superintendent Orma Luckey said the following candidates qualified by the Wednesday deadline: Ward 2: Earl Gray (incumbent) and Arlene Walker; Ward 3: Louis Hamm (incumbent), Craig Crawford and Scott Chastain. Ward 5: Clay Kissner (incumbent) and Paula G. Stinnett, whose father, Eddie Stinnett, held the seat before dying of a heart attack in November.

In Walker County, city offices are up for grabs in LaFayette, Rossville, Chickamauga and Lookout Mountain.

In LaFayette, three candidates will compete to fill the mayor's seat being vacated by Neal Florence who won't seek re-election after 23 years: incumbent Councilman Andy Arnold, Michael Lovelady and James H. Mashburn.

Three candidates seek the Ward I seat being vacated by Andy Arnold: Beacher Garmany, Glenn Gunnells and Robert Wardlaw. In Ward 2, Ben Bradford (incumbent) is being challenged by Ronald M. Underwood.

In Rossville, two at-large seats are open. Incumbents Rick Buff and Joyce Wall face challenger William Larry Rose Jr.

In Lookout Mountain, there are no challengers for incumbent Mayor Sandy Gothard and city council members David Bennett, Beth Soloff and David Fussell, who all seek re-election.

In Chickamauga, three at-large City Council seats are open.

Incumbents Randal Dalton and Evitte Parrish will face challengers James Dale Powell and Shannon Whitfield. City Recorder Juanita Crowder will run unopposed.

Three Chickamauga City Schools incumbents will run unopposed: Billy Neal Ellis, Janet Landers and D.A. "Corky" Jewell V.

In Trenton, Ga., the seat of Dade County, incumbent City Clerk Lucretia Houts will run unopposed. Incumbent Police Commissioner Sandra D. Gray will face challenger Tim Riddle. Incumbent Recreation and Parks Commissioner Terry Powell faces challenger Holly E. Moore.

In Whitfield County, Tate O'Gwin will seek the Ward 2 Dalton City Council seat, and incumbent Ward 4 Councilman Gary Crews will be challenged by Jafar Ware.

For Dalton City Schools, Steve Laird has no opposition for one open seat while Sherwood Jones III and Pablo Perez will battle for another seat.

In Varnell, two candidates qualified to run for the mayor's seat, which is being vacated by Dan Peeples: Anthony Hulsey and David Owens. For Seat 2, Jan Pourquoi will face Michael Willocks. For Seat 1, Ashlee Godfrey qualified. Candidates still have time to qualify for seat five being vacated by mayoral candidate David Owens.

The city of Cohutta hasn't yet finished qualifying candidates.

The above information was provided by officials in the respective cities and counties, except for Lookout Mountain, Ga., which was provided by longtime council watcher Jimmy Campbell.

Contact Tim Omarzu at tomarzu@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6651.

about Tim Omarzu...

Tim Omarzu covers Catoosa and Walker counties for the Times Free Press. Omarzu is a longtime journalist who has worked as a reporter and editor at daily and weekly newspapers in Michigan, Nevada and California. Stories he's covered include crime in blighted parts of metro Detroit and Reno, Nev.; environmental activists tree-sitting in California's Sierra Nevada foothills; attempts by the Michigan Militia to take over a township┬╣s government in northern Michigan. A native of Michigan, ...

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