05/17/14 — Democrats have not yet picked candidate

View Archive

Democrats have not yet picked candidate

By Steve Herring
Published in News on May 17, 2014 10:37 PM

Wayne County Democrats say they have not yet selected a candidate to challenge Republican Joe Gurley in November for the District 4 seat on the Wayne County Board of Commissioners.

The office would normally not be up for election until November 2016, however, the April resignation of Commissioner Steve Keen has resulted in its placement on this November's ballot.

The Democratic Party has met once, and more meetings are planned, Chairman Gene Britt said.

"But I am not at liberty to say more," he said. "We don't have a firm timetable, but we know that we do not want to wait until August."

There is no set deadline for getting the name on the ballot, but Wayne County Board of Elections officials have said the earlier, the better.

"Absentee ballots have to go out Sept. 5, which means we have got to get them back in hand to do that," Elections Director Rosemary Blizzard said. "They have to be generated and approved before Sept. 5."

Mrs. Blizzard said she has not spoken to either party about a deadline.

The typical turnaround time on the ballots is about two weeks, but having three or four weeks to work with would be even better, she said.

There are two other deadlines that are looming -- one of which would be a good yardstick, she said.

June 27 at noon is the deadline for people to file as an unaffiliated candidate, and Aug. 6 at noon is the deadline for people to file as a write-in candidate for November.

The Aug. 6 deadline would be the one to keep in mind, she said.

"Pretty much after that we are ready to go," Mrs. Blizzard said.

Gurley will continue to serve as director of the Wayne County Office of Emergency Services until the end of May before stepping down to assume the District 4 board seat.

Gurley was unanimously selected by the Wayne County Republican Party Executive Committee and approved by commissioners to fill the seat for the next six months.

He will be sworn into office during a ceremony scheduled for June 2 at 12:30 p.m. in Superior Courtroom No. 1 at the Wayne County Courthouse.

Since the vacancy occurred within the first two years of a four-year term, Gurley will only serve until the Nov. 4 election.

At that time, an election will be held to fill the office for the remainder of Keen's term.

Gurley has said he will seek election at that time.