Attorney Henry Williams, left, and Greater 2nd Mt. Olive Baptist Church Pastor Lorenzo Heard stand on the steps of the Dougherty County Courthouse Tuesday where they announced they have filed suit to force the county Board of Elections to place Heard’s name on the November ballot against Lane Price in the at-large school board race.
ALBANY, Ga. — South Georgia Judicial District Superior Court Judge J. Richard Porter II has scheduled hearing dates for Lorenzo Heard’s suit against the Dougherty County Board of Elections.
Porter set Oct. 1 and 2 at 9 a.m. in Dougherty Superior Court to hear the case. Board attorney Ed Collier confirmed receipt of the hearing notice Tuesday morning.
Heard filed suit against the Elections Board last month in an effort to get his name on the Nov. 6 ballot as an independent to run in the Dougherty school board race against Democratic nominee Lane Price.
The pastor of Greater 2nd Mt. Olive Baptist Church, Heard attempted to enter the race immediately after Price defeated incumbent Anita Williams-Brown in the July 31 primary.
Heard mounted a drive to qualify as an independent candidate but was denied by the Board of Elections because he “had not fulfilled all three requirements necessary” to qualify as an independent candidate.
His attorneys, Maurice King and Henry Williams, then filed suit on Aug. 28.
Dougherty County’s three superior court judges — Stephen Goss, Willie Lockett and Denise Marshall — all voluntarily recused themselves. South Georgia Judicial Circuit Chief Judge Harry Aultman appointed Porter to hear the case.
Days later, Heard placed a classified ad in The Albany Herald announcing his intention to run as a write-in candidate for the at-large school board seat.
In a related development, on Monday Heard hand-delivered a letter to The Herald complaining of the paper “casting political advertisements as news stories.”
“I am writing this letter to request equal time and equal opportunity,” Heard wrote.”I am requesting equal time because the actions of your newspaper are calculated to give a political advantage to my opponent.”
The Herald has attempted to contact Heard on at least four occasions over the past month — twice to request comments and two other times requesting interviews — three of the calls were not returned.
Heard did return a call late Tuesday requesting a interview for Thursday. He said he’d have to check his appointment book and call back. The Herald is still waiting on that return call.