MONROE — Voters in the four largest cities of Walton County will have plenty of choices when they go vote Nov. 7.
Races for mayor in Loganville and Monroe top the ballots in the upcoming election. All four cities will be voting on City Council members, and Social Circle will have Board of Education races as well.
Loganville qualifying ended Aug. 22 and ensured voters will get choices for mayor and City Council.
Donna Jones and Rey Martinez are running for mayor. Jones is the wife of recently retired City Manager Bill Jones, and Martinez just resigned his City Council seat to run for mayor.
There will be five people in the race for three seats on the City Council. Only one is an incumbent. On the ballot are Anne Coles, incumbent Danny Ford, former Mayor Mike Jones, Lisa Newberry and Semi Oduwole.
Vice Mayor Mark Kiddoo decided not to seek re-election. He’s served since 2003. Martinez’s seat would have been up for re-election this year.
The mayor race in Monroe is a three-way tussle.
Incumbent Greg Thompson is going for a fourth term after he coasted to re-election in 2013.
John Howard was a surprise entrant after he previously announced a bid for the District 3 City Council seat.
Sandra Shurling, a Realtor, also qualified to run for mayor.
Howard said he planned to run in District 3, but felt that was less important after Ross Bradley also announced a bid.
“Knowing that Ross Bradley became interested, I have full faith and confidence in him,” Howard said. “The best thing that I could do is run for mayor because Monroe needs both of us.
“There’s no question that Monroe needs both of us and frankly it’s not fair to the people to have any less.”
Howard resigned his position as chairman of the Planning and Zoning Board on Monday.
Bradley, Leon Boyce and Adriane Brown are on the ballot twice in District 3: once to fill out former Councilman Nathan Purvis’ term in a special election, and again for the full four-year term (2018-21).
The District 8 race could give one family a stranglehold on city government.
Lidia Garrett, wife of District 5 Councilman Norman Garrett, qualified to run against incumbent Jimmy Richardson and challenger David F. Dickinson, a former mayor and Municipal Court judge.
Lidia Garrett was the Democratic nominee for the District 6 seat on the Walton County Board of Commissioners. She lost to Kirklyn Dixon, an independent incumbent from Monroe.
Norman Garrett’s cousin Myoshia Crawford is the District 2 representative.
Georgia Municipal Association officials were not immediately able to provide examples of similar situations where a husband-and-wife team, or other members of a family, serve together on a City Council.
Vice Mayor Wayne Adcock will be re-elected to the 6th District council seat without opposition.
In Social Circle, Councilman Scott Simpkins is not seeking re-election. In his place, former Councilwoman Traysa Cody Price, Adolphus Gaither and William T. Haney are running.
Mayor Pro Tem David Keener will be re-elected to the District 3 seat without opposition.
Former school board member John Callahan was elected chairman of the city Board of Education without opposition.
Callahan resigned the District 1 seat to run after Chairman Tim Lemonds decided not to seek re-election.
In Callahan’s stead, four people have sought the 1st District seat in a special election: Jessica Hutcheson, Cassie Jones, Tonia Lumpkin and Kimberley Donaldson.
(Jones, a photographer, is an occasional contributor to The Walton Tribune.)
Two incumbents on the Social Circle Board of Education face challengers. In District 2, Antonio Jackson is facing incumbent Jamie P. Peterson. In District 4, incumbent Charles Akin faces challenger Sabrina Sanford Flint.
Voters will pick from among three candidates to fill two at-large seats on the Walnut Grove City Council.
Mark Moore, Linda Pilgrim and Sarah Weaver are the candidates. None are currently in office.
Qualifying is currently underway for a special election to fill an open seat in Place 2 on the City Council.