Two more in races, one for countywide spot

Published 12:06 pm Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A retired forester and a local farmer Tuesday added their names to a slowly growing number of candidates running in county elections later this year.

Gene Thompson, 69, filed papers as an independent for chancery clerk, becoming the fourth to do so since qualifying began in January. Thompson said his business experience and the state-set salary for the countywide office formed a rationale for seeking the office this year. Three-term incumbent Chancery Clerk Dot McGee is retiring at year’s end.

“Being able to maintain records and working with a board of directors will help,” Thompson said.

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Thompson ran lumber companies until the last, Thompson Enterprises, closed in 1992. In 1999, he finished third among four candidates for the county supervisor seat in District 5.

Also filing paperwork was Ellis Tillotson, who submitted a petition to run for District 5’s seat, held by Richard George for four nonconsecutive terms.

Tillotson, 55, heads up three construction and agribusiness firms, according to the Secretary of State’s Office’s Business Services Division. Tillotson said issues like building a new county jail and road maintenance prompted a run for public office.

“There’s a number of issues I think should be done in a different manner to try to keep taxes from going up,” Tillotson said.

Election commissioners must check all names on petition lists filed by candidates for residency status on independent candidacies for district and countywide offices. Fifteen names are needed to run independent for county supervisor, while nonpartisan runs for chancery and circuit clerk posts and tax assessor require 50 to qualify.

Qualifying ends March 1 for statewide and local races and June 1 for legislative posts. Party primaries are Aug. 2 and the general election is Nov. 8.

City Clerk Walter Osborne, a Democrat, retired health care industry administrator Donna Farris Hardy, a Republican, and legal assistant Alecia Ashley, an independent, have filed to run for the chancery clerk post, which maintains all records for chancery courts and boards of supervisors in the state. Statutory duties include recording board minutes, preparing the claims docket and county payroll, and recording and storing deeds, land records and documents received from the court. Annual base salary for the office is $90,000.

In Warren County, voters will decide races in eight statewide races and 24 district-level and countywide offices. Also, voters will decide the fate of three initiatives placed on the ballot by separate petitions — definition of a person, voter identification and eminent domain.

District 1 Supervisor David McDonald faces a primary challenge from businessman Joe Channell. District 2 Supervisor William Banks has picked up a primary challenge from city zoning board member Tommie Rawlings, who lost to Banks four years ago. District 5 Supervisor Richard George, an independent, has drawn one opponent, J.W. Carroll, an independent. Supervisors Charles Selmon in District 3 and Bill Lauderdale in District 4 have qualified and had drawn no challengers through Tuesday.

Sheriff Martin Pace, an independent, faces opposition from former deputy Bubba Comans, who filed as a Democrat.