The qualifying period for the City of Gray’s elected officials started this past Monday, and the deadline for candidates to submit their qualifying fees and paperwork is 4:30 p.m. Sept. 4.
City Election Superintendent Jamie Lewandowski said the first candidate to qualify for the 2009 election was mayoral candidate Lehman Wood, who was waiting for her when she arrived at City Hall Monday morning. Wood ran for the office in 2005 against incumbent Mayor Jason Briley. The candidate let his intentions to run again be known several weeks ago when he began running ads in The Jones County News.
Briley announced Monday that, after serving as Gray’s mayor for 12 years, he will not be seeking re-election. Briley is currently working out of Atlanta but said that was not the only reason for his decision, although it certainly was a consideration.
“I really feel that I have done all I can,” he stated.
Monday qualifiers also included Russell Thompson and Jeff Parker, who are both running for the position of District Four councilman, and Charlie Ridley, who is running for the District One seat. District Two incumbent councilman Benny Gray and District One incumbent David Tufts also qualified to run for re-election Monday.
Rick Tipton turned in his paperwork Tuesday morning to qualify to run for the countywide position of mayor pro tem, and Gus Wilson qualified to run for mayor. Incumbent Terrell Fulford picked up his paperwork Monday and turned it in Tuesday to run again for his District Three seat.
Mayor Pro Tem Loretta Lipsey said Tuesday morning that she intends to run again and will turn her paperwork in before the qualifying period ends. As of the printing of this edition, the only incumbent who has not declared his intentions to run is District Four councilman Ronnie Miller.
The City election will be held Nov. 3 at the W.E. Knox Center. City offices are non-partisan, so no primary election is necessary. Candidates for the offices of mayor, mayor pro tem, and the four city council seats may pick up their applications at City Hall. Candidates may qualify any time during normal business hours, which are from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
The fee to qualify to run for the office of mayor is $188, for mayor pro tem $144, and for any of the four council seats $108. Fees must be paid when the registration forms are submitted.
For more information about the election, call City Hall at 986-5433.