LEESBURG — Lee County Libertarian Tim Nelson said Monday he’s beginning his “boots on the ground” campaign to unseat District 4 County Commissioner Rick Muggridge.
Nelson followed through with an earlier commitment to collect enough signatures on a petition to qualify as an independent and have his name on the ballot in the Nov. 6 General Election.
Lee Elections Supervisor Veronica Johnson confirmed Monday that Nelson’s petition contained 250 valid signatures. He needed 168 signatures to get his name included on the ballot.
Johnson said more than 300 signatures were submitted and the Lee County Board of Elections and Registration was able to validate 250 signatures.
“I am excited that the Elections Board validated my petition and has allowed my name to be placed on the November ballot,” said the 35-year-old Nelson, who is a state probation officer.
If elected, Nelson said he wants to cut spending and that he “is not a rubber stamp for other board members’ agendas.”
This is the first political contest for Nelson, who has lived in Lee County for the past nine years. He is originally from Manteno, Ill. “I guess the closest experience (to politics) was being a state officer for the Illinois Association FFA in 1996,” Nelson said.
Nelson said he started thinking about running for the County Commission after he became upset over the commission’s initial plan to include garbage bills on annual property tax statements.
“Then, when the county refused to take down the T-SPLOST signs that were clearly against their own ordinance ... that pushed me over the edge,” he said.
Nelson explained that he did not qualify for the primary election because he is neither a Republican nor a Democrat. He is vice chairman of the Southwest Georgia chapter of the Libertarian Party and represents the area on the State Executive Committee for the Libertarian Party of Georgia.
Muggridge, who owns and operates an insurance agency, said he is confident the County Commission acted property is dealing with Nelson’s complaints about the T-SPLOST signs.
Muggridge said the commission took the advice of its attorney that Georgia’s ordinance trumps the county ordinance.
“Whether I support T-SPLOST or do not support T-SPLOST was not the deciding factor,” Muggridge said. “Everybody has an opportunity for free speech.”
Muggride said the candidacy by Nelson “gives us one more opportunity to define our vision for the county. I am proud to be a conservative Republican. The significant difference between Libertarian and Republican is that I believe in smaller government, but I do not believe in no government.”
Muggridge defeated Frank Taylor in the Republican primary on July 31, 811 votes to 332.