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Ballots set for November elections


By Monroe Roark
Times Correspondent 

  Municipal candidates for mayoral and council posts in Henry County’s four cities have been determined after last week’s qualifying, and the new SPLOST referendum was also approved last week by the Henry County Board of Commissioners, all of which will appear on the Nov. 5 ballot.

  Hampton is the city with the potential for the greatest amount of turnover come January, as four seats on the City Council are up for grabs along with the mayor’s office.

  Chris Moore, who won a special election earlier this year to succeed mayor R.W. Coley, is running to keep that seat and will face Steve Hutchison, whom he defeated in the previous race. Coley passed away last fall while in office.

  Hutchison is a former council member who resigned his seat to run against Moore, and that seat has been vacant since then. A special election to fill the seat for a two-year term is on the November ballot, pitting Zakery Daniel against Frederick DeRuvo.

  Three other council seats, all of them at-large, will be decided. All three incumbents – Charles Hearn, Marty Meeks and Mary Ann Mitcham – are seeking re-election. Also in the race are Carlton Grant, former councilmember Arley Lowe, and Ann Tarpley. The three with the most votes from this field of six will take office in January.

  Locust Grove is the only city in Henry County that is not electing a mayor this year. Incumbents Keith Boone, Samuel Brown and James Rosser will all be vying to keep their council seats, with competition from Donald Dunlap and former councilmember Viann Doerr. All three seats are at-large, with the top three vote-getters declared the winners.

  In McDonough, Mayor Billy Copeland faces a challenge from Wayne Smith, who last week resigned his District 3 council seat to qualify for the mayor’s race. Qualifying for the special election to fill Smith’s old seat ends at 1 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 5.

  District 1 incumbent councilmember Rufus Stewart is unopposed, while District II incumbent Sandra Vincent faces Darryl Payton on the ballot. As for the council’s at-large seat, incumbent Rufus Amis is being challenged by Roger Pruitt, Vincent Smith and Swaine Thompson.

  Less than a year after being appointed mayor, Mark Alarcon will run for a four-year term against three challengers: Houston Nelson III, Tim Thompson and former city clerk Vanessa Holiday. Alarcon, who was elected to the City Council in 2009, was appointed mayor after his predecessor,  Lee Stuart, vacated the seat due to a no-contest plea last December in Fulton County Superior Court on a misdemeanor count of unprofessional conduct by a public officer.

  Shirley Dabney, who had been defeated in her bid for re-election to the City Council in 2011, was appointed to fill Alarcon’s council seat and will run this fall to keep it. One other seat is on the ballot, and incumbent Harold Cochran – who has served on the City Council for more than three decades – is running for re-election as well.

  Five other candidates have qualified for one of those two seats: Anthony Ford, Lakeisha Gantt, George Hawxhurst, Tonja Meadows, and Bruce Smith Sr.

  The only issue on the ballot for all of Henry County in November is the next installment of the special-purpose local option sales tax, which is set to expire March 31. Should the referendum pass, a new SPLOST will begin April 1 and continue for six years.

  A wide range of transportation and capital projects have been placed on the list to be funded should the referendum pass. County officials expect to see about $190 million collected during the six-year life of the tax.



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