Lee nonpartisan qualifying set for this week

LEESBURG, Ga. -- Candidates planning to run for nonpartisan elected positions in Lee County will qualify at the elections office in the T. Page Tharp Governmental Building this week.

The only positions open for qualifying during the 2010 nonpartisan election cycle in the county are the District 1 and District 3 School Board seats currently held by Bobby Clay and Louis Hatcher, respectively. Both have already announced their plans to qualify for another term.

"I haven't really heard of anyone else planning to run for one of the seats," Lee Elections Supervisor Veronica Johnson said. "I usually get some calls of inquiry about the positions, but I really haven't heard anything."

Johnson said candidates planning to run as Independents also have to pay qualifying fees during the week. That will impact presumed candidate Mary Egler, who has been working to collect needed signatures in District 1 for a run against incumbent Commissioner Dennis Roland.

"At this stage, it would be premature for me to talk about (running for office)," Egler said. "I'd like to wait until I get all of the necessary arrangements to run completed. But I am working to get the necessary signatures from voters in the district."

Johnson said state law requires Independent candidates to collect valid signatures of 5 percent of the active registered voters in the district in which they plan to run. Based on November 2006 general election figures, Egler would need 116 signatures to qualify to run against Roland.

Incumbent Ed Duffy is being challenged by Lester Leggette in the July 20 Republican primary for the District 3 County Commission seat.

Johnson said early voting for the Republican primary is ongoing and will continue each weekday through July 16. Also, early voting in the special Sept. 21 Leesburg City Council race called to replace former Councilman Steve Kitchens is expected to begin "around Aug. 30."

Rhonda Futch and Jeff Sexton have qualified for that seat.

Johnson said the deadline for registering to vote in the July 20 primary has passed, but voters have until Aug. 23 to register to vote in the Leesburg race. Registration through Oct. 4 will allow voters to cast ballots in the Nov. 2 general election.

Candidate qualifying this week will start at 9 a.m. Monday-Friday and will run until 5 p.m. through Thursday. Qualifying cutoff is noon Friday. Qualifying fee for the School Board seats is $24.