Wiggins has no opponent
By By Robert Blankenship, Special to The Advance
The August 1 deadline for county Republicans to qualify a candidate for the office of tax collector has come and gone, leaving Joy Wiggins as the lone contendor for the office.
Wiggins, who was running on the Democrat ticket, will not have an opponent in November's general election and will most likely take control of the office in January 2003.
Republican candidate John Powell decided in July to drop out of the race stating that he felt Wiggins would be a strong and capable tax collector. With Powell dropping out, the Republican party had until Aug. 1 to find a replacement to qualify to run in the general election.
Wiggins has been working in the tax collector's office for seven years. She also served in the probation office for two years until current tax collector Joe Bonner combined motor vehicle tags into the collector's office at which time Wiggins was transferred.
It was her experience that influenced Powell to drop out of the race.
"Had she not won the primary, I would probably still be in the race," Powell said. "She does her job very well and I'm sure she will do a good job as the county's tax collector."
Wiggins won the primary election without a runoff despite facing several other candidates. In a four-candidate race for tax collector, she ran away with 56.8 percent of the votes. Her nearest competitor was Tommy Fields with 21.2 percent. Joffrey Tullis and Michael Hanks finished third and fourth, respectively.
Wiggins said she felt honored in her campaign to become tax collector.
"It was very humbling to see all of the people come out and support me," Wiggins said. "I am very thankful to all of those who supported me during the campaign."
She also said she was honored with the respect she was shown by the local Republican party.
"I am very thankful and honored that they felt I could do a good job. Mr. Powell was very kind to me and was very complimentary. I am very thankful," she said.
As the tax collector-elect, Wiggins said she intends to keep her only campaign promise.
"During the campaign I didn't make any promises, because everything I do is dependent on state and federal laws," she said. "But, I did promise that they would never be ashamed of me. I will be here doing the job they elected me to do.
"I am very excited about the opportunity to serve the county and I want to do a good job."
Wiggins will replace Bonner who has served as Escambia County's tax collector for almost 21 years.