School board challengers, mayor qualify for May

mowen@ledger-enquirer.comMarch 3, 2014 

ROBIN TRIMARCHI rtrimarchi@ledger-enquirer.com Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson, center, kicks off her 2014 re-election campaign Saturday from her headquarters on Macon Road. Among her supporters that spoke at the rally were Sam Wellborn, left, Tomlinson's husband Tripp Tomlinson and Audrey Tillman. 03.01.14

ROBIN TRIMARCHI — rtrimarchi@ledger-enquirer.com Buy Photo

The first day of qualifying for the May 20 local elections produced two challengers to incumbent Muscogee County School Board members, according to documents filed with the city’s Elections and Registration office.

Local businessman John “Bart” Steed, owner of Kar-tunes, an automotive stereo company, paid his $360 fee to qualify for District 2, which pits him against long-time incumbent John Wells, who also qualified Monday.

District 8 board member Beth Harris qualified Monday, paying her $360 fee. She will face local political consultant and attorney Frank Myers, who also qualified Monday.

Two other Muscogee County School Board incumbents, Naomi Buckner of District 4 and Mark Cantrell of District 6, paid their qualifying fees Monday. Neither has any announced opposition as yet.

Qualifying fees are based on a percentage of the position’s salary. School board members make about $11,800 a year.

Mayor Teresa Tomlinson was among the first of qualifiers Monday, and the only one of four declared candidates for the office she has held for more than three years. Tomlinson paid the $1,950 qualifying fee Monday. Her salary is $78,909.

State Court Judge Andy Prather, so far unopposed, filed his qualifying papers and paid his qualifying fee of $4,575 for the post that pays $154,113.

Incumbent Columbus Councilors Judy Thomas and Pops Barnes, also paid their $420 qualifying fees Monday. Councilors make about $15,500 a year.

In Harris County, Board of Education chairwoman Karen Hopkins announced Monday that she won’t run for re-election. Hopkins won the District 7 seat in the August 2002 election.

“It has been my great honor to serve the needs of schoolchildren in Harris County,” she said in a news release. “I leave with sadness, but health issues are making it necessary.”

Reached by phone, Hopkins explained, “I have some health issues, and, in addition, both my parents are in ill health, and I want to stay as healthy as I can for them, so it’s time to step down.”

Hopkins, however, still plans to serve the rest of her term, through December. She has been the board’s chairwoman since January 2009.

“Our board is strong,” she said, “and it has been a privilege to serve alongside some of the finest people I have ever known.”

With the District 7 seat now open, someone already has qualified to fill it: former board member LaTrenda Tyler-Jones. The only other qualifier Monday for the non-partisan board races is Morgan Marlowe of District 2.

Qualifying for the Harris County Commission races Monday as Republicans are incumbent Charles Wyatt of District 1, Andrew Sivell of District 2 and Marcus Bice of District 3.

Monday’s qualifiers for the Chattahoochee County Commission are Post 3 incumbent Gerald Douglas and Post 5 incumbent Donald Moore.

Stay with ledger-enquirer.com for updates throughout qualifying week, which ends Friday at noon.

WHO’S QUALIFIED

MUSCOGEE COUNTY

Mayor: Incumbent Teresa Tomlinson

State Court judge: Incumbent Andy Prather

Council

District 1: Pop Barnes

District at large: Judy Thomas

School board

District 2: Incumbent John Wells, John “Bart” Steed

District 4: Incumbent Naomi Buckner

District 6: Incumbent Mark Cantrell

District 8: Incumbent Beth Harris, Frank Myers

HARRIS COUNTY

School board

District 2: Morgan Marlowe

District 7: LaTrenda Tyler-Jones

Commission

District 1: Incumbent Charles Wyatt (R)

District 2: Andrew Sivell (R)

District 3: Marcus Bice (R)

CHATTAHOOCHEE COUNTY

Commission

Post 3: Incumbent Gerald Douglas

Post 5: Incumbent Donald Moore

Mark Rice contributed to this story.

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