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Qualifying begins next week

Qualifying for Lamar County elections will be held beginning at 9 a.m. Wednesday, May 23, through 12 noon Friday, May 25, during normal working hours at the board of elections office. They include magistrate judge, probate judge, clerk of superior court and tax commissioner, $1,392.25; sheriff,$1,616.40; commission districts three and four, $108; board of education district one,$156, and district three, $187.50; and coroner $107.97. The magistrate judgeship is held by William Thomas, the probate judge is Kathy Martin, superior court clerk is Frank Abbott and Andrea Anthony is the tax commissioner. No one else has announced they will qualify for any of these seats. Sheriff Larry Waller is retiring and plans to serve as the administrator of the Towaliga Judicial Circuit Drug Court, now housed in the Lamar County courthouse. This leaves an expected three-way race between Brad White, Frank Usher and Joe Buice. Buice supporters are collecting voter signatures to get his name on the ballot as an independent candidate. District three county commissioner Jimmy Hearn also will step down. Hearn also spent several years on the water authority before and after being elected to the commission. Retired Norfolk-Southern executive Van Baker is the most recent hopeful to announce for this seat, joining Kelvin Chute, Julia Heidbrink and former county commission chairman Bobby Burnette who are all tossing their hats in the ring. Nancy Thrash has indicated she will run for re-election for district four and so far has no opposition. The board of education district one seat is held by Horace Hightower and district three is represented by longtime chairperson Susan Byars. Neither have any announced opposition. Coroner Jim Smith also has no announced opposition. Incumbent District 127 state representative Billy Maddox, who represents part of Lamar County and all of Pike County in the state legislature also said he will not seek reelection. Lamar County’s Ryan Christopher is running for this seat.

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