Four candidates file for Polk County commission elections so far

Published 11:31 pm Thursday, February 20, 2014

Filing ends next Friday, Feb. 28

by Leah Justice

After a full week of filing, it appeared that no one would throw his or her name into the hat for three open seats on the Polk County Board of Commissioners.

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As of Thursday, Feb. 20, four candidates have filed to fill those seats.

Jake Johnson (R) was the first to file for commissioner on Friday, Feb. 14. Johnson  was joined in the race on Wednesday, Feb. 19, by incumbent Ray Gasperson (D), Bill Ingham (D) and Lee Mink (D) who filed at the same time.

Ingham is currently a Tryon commissioner who was the high vote getter for Tryon in November 2013.

On Thursday, Feb. 20, Pat Staggs (R) challenged current Polk County Sheriff Donald Hill, who filed on Feb. 10, the first day of filing.

Others to file so far are incumbent Polk County Clerk of Court Pam Hyder (D) with no challengers so far and Polk County School Board incumbent Geoff Tennant (Columbus), incumbent Judy Jackson (Coopers Gap), incumbent Sherry Page (Green Creek) and newcomer Jim Patterson (Tryon).

School board member James Cowan (Tryon) and county commissioners Ted Owens (R) and Keith Holbert (R) have not filed for reelection.

Potential candidates have another week to file. Filing ends on Friday, Feb. 28 at noon. Candidates for local offices file at the Polk County Board of Elections Office, located on the second floor of the Womack building in Columbus with the office open from 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

As of Thursday, Feb. 20, no primary elections will be necessary. A primary will occur if more than three candidates file under the same party for the board of commissioners or more than one file in a particular party for the sheriff or clerk of court.

If one more candidate files for commissioner as a Democrat or three more candidates file for commissioner as a Republican, primary elections will be necessary for each party to narrow the candidates down to three nominations. With the sheriff, it would take one more Democrat filing for a primary or one more Republican, for example.

If a primary election is necessary, it is scheduled to take place on May 6.

Other offices up for re-election this year include for U.S. Congress 10th district, 47th state senate, 113 state house, 29-B district attorney, supreme court chief justice, supreme court associate justice, court of appeals, 29-B superior court judge and two seats on the Polk Soil and Water Conservation District, with filing for the soil and water district scheduled for June 9-July 7.

The Polk County Board of Elections has information on its website, including a link to download forms for candidacy.

The board of elections is also updating a list of those who have filed for office daily.

For the list and other information visit under the board of elections department icon or call 828-894-8181.