On the last day of qualifying, two more candidates stepped forward to challenge for Columbia County’s District 4 commission seat.
Vernon Thomas Sr. and Eric Crawford both qualified today before the noon deadline.
Thomas, of Appling, previously has run four times for the commission. Crawford, of Grovetown, is a newcomer to political campaigns.
Both men are black, so this election marks the first time since Thomas ran against former Commissioner Diane Ford in 1992 that black candidates have sought a commission seat.
They and three others will vie to replace former Commissioner Scott Dean during a March 15 special election.
Harlem resident David Payne qualified Tuesday to make a third run for the office. Qualifying on Monday were former state Sen. Joey Brush and retired Columbia County school system assistant superintendent Bill Morris.
With five candidates competing for a single seat, the election likely will result in a runoff. The top two vote-getters might face off on April 12.
Advance voting for that election will be held March 7-11 at the county Board of Elections office, 500 Faircloth Drive, Building E, Evans.
Dean vacated his commission seat on Feb. 2 following a grand jury indictment on two counts of child molestation. The indictment accuses him of having inappropriate contact with one of the five children he and his wife, Renee, adopted from Guatemala in 2008.