Qualifying under way for county elections

Published 11:00 pm Friday, December 2, 2011

Local candidates have about six weeks to qualify if they plan to run for a county or state office.

The deadline to qualify for the March 13, 2012, party primaries is Jan. 13, 2012 – a “Friday the 13th,” as pointed out by Jerry Williams, Pike County Democratic Party chairman.

In addition to the presidential primaries on that ballot, several key county offices are up for election, including all Pike County Commission Seats; Pike County Probate Judge; Pike County Circuit Clerk: Pike County School Board Districts 5 and 6; and two judgeships: the Circuit Judge position held by Thomas Head and the district judge position held by William Hightower. In addition, state congressional offices, state Supreme Court seats and the chairmanship of the Public Service Commission will be on the March ballot.

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Qualifying for the Republican Party opened on Nov. 14. The Democratic Party opens qualifying at 9 a.m. Monday at the Pike County Courthouse.

Williams said although qualifying hasn’t officially opened, talk about the elections “has been quiet, really quiet.”

Probate Judge Wes Allen echoed that sentiment. “I’ve not heard much.”

Allen, who qualified to run again as a Republican, is the only candidate to have filed his paper with the Probate Office, the necessary step after qualifying at a party level.

However, Brett Vann has announced a kick-off rally for 11 a.m. Dec. 6 at the Pike County courthouse. He is running for District 4 of the Pike County Commission, the seat currently held by Ray Goodson.

Allen said that after candidates qualify through their political party, they must file campaign finance paperwork through the Probate Judge’s office.

“Voters have until March 2 to register to vote in the primaries,” Allen said. “And they have until March 8 to apply for absentee ballots.”

Runoffs from the party primaries will be held April 24. The general election takes place Nov. 6, 2012.

In addition to the national and statewide primaries on March 13, municipalities in Pike County will hold elections in November.

Candidates in the municipal elections ¬– which include mayors and council members from Troy, Brundidge, Goshen and Banks – do not run in party primaries. Instead, they will qualify with their city clerks and run in an open primary in August 2012 with the general election taking place in November 2012.