Ryan Tucker could be sworn in as the District 3 member of the Thomaston City Council as soon as November 17, 2015. But first, he will need one vote in the City of Thomaston’s Special Election on Tuesday, November 3, 2015, to be elected to fill the remaining term as the District 3 Council member.
Tucker, President of United Bank in Thomaston, was the only person to qualify to run for the unexpired term of J. D. Stallings, who resigned last month to run for Mayor. District 3’s term ends on December 31, 2017.
With Tucker the only one who qualified for the position, the question that arose was did the City of Thomaston have to hold a Special Election? According to Upson County Board of Elections Chairman Robert Haney, since there is opposition to other city elected positions in the General Election, which will be held at the same time, the Special Election will still have to be held.
“The law says you’ve got to have the election, even though he’s the only one qualified,” Haney said. “The race will be on the ballot, but his will be the only name and he has to get one vote. If you’re not already having an election, the law says you don’t have to have an election if only one person qualifies. You just assume they would vote for themselves. But if there is already going to be an election, then you have to have it on the ballot.”
In the General Election, the race for Thomaston mayor is being contested between Stallings and Rev. Coleman Dumas III. The race for the District 1 council post is contested between incumbent Gary Atwater and challenger LaKeitha Reeves. The race for the District 2 council post is contested between incumbent Patsy Perdue and challengers Carl McKinney and Jeff Middlebrooks. Haney said since those races are contested, the District 3 election must also be held.
“Since we’re already having to have an election since there is opposition in those other races,” Haney said, “this one still has the be on the ballot, with one name on it, and he must get at least one vote.”
Once the election is over, Tucker can be sworn into office as soon as the election results are certified by the Georgia Secretary of State. That means Tucker could be sworn into office as soon as November 17, which is the second Thomaston City Council meeting of the month.
If that happens, Tucker, who has lived in Thomaston for the last five years, is ready to take office.
“I look forward to getting the election over with and getting to work,” he said. “I’m a little disappointed there wasn’t better turnout (for qualifying), but that doesn’t mean I’m going to take it lightly. I will continue to keep my eye on the ball as far as my district and the overall city is concerned. I’m looking forward to getting started.”
Tucker said he got into the race because he saw needs and is not one to sit on the sidelines.
“There have been some challenges in the city, and the county, for that matter, that we’ve seen in the newspapers, but obviously I’m in the city and I see the challenges that need to be addressed. I’m not one to just sit around and complain about them. I want to try to do something to help and fix it. I felt like I was called to try and do that, and here I am.”
Larry Stanford may be reached at 706-647-5414 or on Twitter @LarryStanford7.