CANTON — More than 20 candidates have signed on to run in Nov. 5 city elections throughout parts of Cherokee County, but by the time qualifying came to a close Wednesday, some incumbents found they will be running unopposed in certain races.
Qualifying in city council and mayoral elections in all Cherokee cities except Canton ended Wednesday, and representatives with the cities said many came forward to throw their hats in the ring. But some sitting officials, such as Woodstock Mayor Donnie Henriques, have no competition to stay in office.
Woodstock City Clerk Rhonda Pezzello said Wednesday afternoon that the lack of opposition likely means the mayor will keep his job another four years.
“(Henriques) still gets put on the ballot, but he’s a shoo-in,” Pezzello said. “Somebody could do a write-in candidacy until next Wednesday. It’s very rare, but that’s something that could happen.”
In Ball Ground, all three incumbents up for election, including Mayor Rick Roberts, also saw no one sign up to run for their job, said City Clerk Karen Jordan.
Jordan said Roberts and City Councilmen John Byrd of Post 4 and Mickey O’Malley of Post 5 all came in to city hall before deadline to qualify.
Because they have no opposition, each will stay in office, and there will be no election, Jordan said.
Other candidates in the Nov. 5 city elections won’t have it so easy.
So far in Canton, nine candidates have thrown their name in the hat to take one of the three seats coming available on the City Council, said City Clerk Susan Stanton.
As of late Wednesday afternoon, Stanton said Clint Weatherby, Sandy McGrew and Bob Reilly had all made it official that they were vying for the Ward 1 seat now held by Bob Rush.
Bill Grant and Ari Durham also signed up to run for the Ward 2 seat held by Bill Bryan. Both Rush and Bryan have said they don’t plan to seek re-election.
Even more opposition was found in the race for John Beresford’s Ward 3 seat on the council with Thomas Sanders, Farris Yawn, Molly Lewis and John Rust all hoping to take the job. Beresford has not yet said publicly if he plans to run again and could not be reached for comment by press time Wednesday.
Qualifying in Canton will end Friday at 4:30 p.m., Stanton said.
Woodstock also has a competition going for seats coming available on the City Council.
Pezzello said Ward 5 City Councilman Bud Leonard has qualified to run again but will have to contend with Susan L. Jones, who is making a play for his seat.
Incumbent Bob Mueller will also have to compete against Judy Davila to keep his Ward 3 City Council seat, and John Szczesniak and Warren Johnson will be squaring off for the Ward 1 seat being vacated by Randy Brewer, said Pezzello.
In Nelson, both incumbents up for election on the City Council, Jackie Jarrett and Edith Portillo, qualified to keep their seats but will both have to get more votes than Thad Thacker Jr., who also qualified, according to the Pickens County Elections Office. The top two vote-getters in the city election there will take over the jobs, because the city isn’t separated by wards or posts.
But Larry Ray, who qualified to fill the vacant mayor’s position, won’t have any opposition, according to the Pickens Election Office.
The Waleska City Council will also see terms in office run up for Paul Ice, Melissa Fournier and Dennis “Hill” Cochran, but all have qualified to stay in office and have no opposition, said City Manager Aimee Abernathy.