Candidates qualify for commission, school board

From right, Richmond County school board member Jimmy Atkins, Augusta commission hopefuls Bill Fennoy, Ken Echols and Donnie Smith and school board member Patsy Scott file papers to seek elected office Monday with Board of Elections Executive Director Lynn Bailey.

By lunchtime Monday, five incumbents and eight challengers had filed into the Richmond County Board of Elections office to put their names in the hat for 10 Augusta Commission and Richmond County Board of Education seats.

Four of the five board of education incumbents had qualified by 12:45 p.m., but at-large member Helen Minchew had yet to sign up for the District 10 position, which does not have term limits.

Marion Barnes of District 1, Barbara Pulliam of District 4, Patsy Scott of District 5 and Jimmy Atkins of District 8 all qualified Monday. The only school board challenger so far is Robert Cheek, the brother of former Augusta Commissioner Andy Cheek and a 2010 District 8 commission candidate.

Augusta Commission District 5 incumbent Bill Lockett was the first to qualify Monday, the first day of qualifying. As of 12:45 p.m., no challenger had signed up to face Lockett.

Qualifying Monday for District 3 were Mary Fair Davis, Ed Enoch and Cleveland O’Steen, who ran for the post in 2009. Bill Fennoy, one of several expected to seek the District 1 commission seat held by Matt Aitken, also signed up.

Fennoy said he’ll run on dealing with dilapidated buildings in District 1 and improving transit service, including adding a bus route to Fort Gordon.

Aitken and Lockett are the only commissioners eligible to run again, as the district 3, 7 and 9 commissioners are term limited.

Two men seeking the Augusta Commission District 7 seat paid their qualifying fees Monday.

Donnie Smith, a Georgia State Patrol lieutenant, said “our district and our community is prepared for new leadership. I don’t have any agenda from previous service.”

Ken Echols, Smith’s opponent for the seat being given up by term-limited Commissioner Jerry Brigham, said his experience as a school board member and being “retired and able to devote myself fully” to the commission put him above the competition. “Attendance is critical,” he said.

Marion Williams is the only candidate to qualify so far for District 9, a seat currently held by term-limited J.R. Hatney. Williams represented District 2 on the commission for two terms.

Candidate qualifying for the 10 posts was moved to this week by U.S. District Judge J. Randal Hall while he redrew the district lines.

Qualifying continues during business hours today and Tuesday at the board of elections office, 530 Greene St., and ends at noon Wednesday.

Incumbents, 1 challenger qualfy for school board race
Qualifying for commission, school board begins today
Qualifying period for Augusta Commission, Richmond County Board of Education next week
Staff Writer Tracey McManus' education blog

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