Phenix City municipal election process begins

The Phenix City municipal elections have now been officially opened.

Mayor Jeff Hardin gave the official notice of election during Tuesday's council meeting, beginning the process that will culminate in the seating of a new mayor and council this fall.

Qualifying for the Aug. 26 election will begin on July 1 and end on July 15. While qualifications can't be made for another two weeks, most candidates for mayor and council have already been announced:

Mayor -- Hardin will not run for a second term as mayor, citing family and business reasons for not seeking re-election. Former Mayor Sonny Coulter has announced his candidacy for a fourth term.

At-large -- Incumbent Ray Bush will seek a second term as at-large councilman and vice-mayor. Former At-Large Councilman J.W. Brannen and former Phenix City Planning Commissioner Jimmy Wetzel are expected to challenge Bush for the post.

District 1 -- John Storey is not seeking a third term on council, a decision he made at the beginning of his current term. Former Municipal Court Clerk Max Wilkes is the only announced candidate for this council slot.

District 2 -- Gail Brantley is seeking another term on council. Georgia Laningham, the chair of Phenix City Beautiful, has announced her challenge for her council seat.

District 3 -- Arthur Sumbry is running for another term with Bobby Stallings challenging the incumbent for the second straight election.

The municipal election runoff will be held on Sept. 16, 2008 if necessary.