Races take shape

Published 9:14 pm Friday, December 30, 2011

A voter casts her ballot at Atmore City Hall during the 2008 elections. General elections will get underway in August of 2012.

With primaries and a general election planned in 2012, candidates, voters and election officials are working toward making the election process a smooth one for everyone.

All candidates, regardless of party, have a limited amount of time in which to qualify for the upcoming elections for 2012.
Tony Sanks, county administrator, said the deadline for all parties is quickly approaching.

“Any candidate who wants to be on the ballot has until 5 p.m. Jan. 13 to complete the qualifying process,” Sanks said.

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With several county offices up for election this year, some candidates have already qualified and have announced their intentions for the offices.

Offices up for election include circuit clerk, probate judge, county commission seats two and four; school board seats two, three and seven and circuit judge.

Circuit Clerk Kenneth Taylor has chosen not to run for re-election this year opening up his seat for election.

Already qualified to be on the ballot for the position of circuit clerk is Becki Breckenridge on the Republican ticket with John Robert Fountain on the Democratic ticket.

Escambia County Probate Judge Emilie Mims will seek election to the office she was appointed to lead after the retirement of Rachel Agerton in 2008. Challenging Mims, who will run on the Republican ticket, is Agerton’s son, Doug Agerton, who has qualified on the Democratic ticket.

County Commission seats currently held by Brandon Smith and Raymond Wiggins will be up for consideration in 2012. Neither commissioner has indicated their intentions for the positions.

Escambia County’s school board will see three seats up for election with Danny Benjamin, Jack D. Crutchfield and Chuck Brooks considering their run for the positions they currently hold. No details on their commitments to run for the seats has been made known publicly.

The seat of circuit judge, currently held by Bert Rice, will also be up for consideration in 2012. Rice was elected to position that is up for consideration every four years.

On the municipal outlook, qualifying for mayor and council positions will not begin until July 3 for those interested in holding one of the leadership positions.

In Atmore three candidates have come forward announcing their intentions to run for the office now held by 22-year mayor Howard Shell. Three-term city councilman Jim Staff has been publicly endorsed by Shell while locals Lloyd Albritton and Bernard Bishop have also announced their candidacy.

Also hitting the campaign trail early are Susan Smith and Larry Houck, both of whom will vie for the city council seat for district four.

Although all five city council seats will be up for election, no other candidates have come forward to publicly announce their candidacy.

With only nine business days open for the qualification period, those interested in running for a municipal seat must make their intentions known by 5 p.m. July 17, according to city officials in Brewton and East Brewton.

Municipal elections for mayor and council seats will be held Aug. 28, 2012 with a run-off set for Oct. 9 if needed in either city.

Winners in municipal elections will take their seats on the first Monday in November, city officials said.

Voter registration will have several deadlines as the election season heats up.

The Escambia County Board of Registrars must abide by regulations that require voters to be registered a minimum of 10 days prior to any primary or general election. If that day falls on a weekend, the Friday prior to the deadline date will be considered the official

deadline. March 2 will be the deadline for primary voter registration with Oct. 26 marked as the deadline to register to vote in the general election.

The first primary election will be March 13 with a run-off date of April 24 if needed. The 2012 general election will be held Nov. 6,

To learn more about qualifying for any municipal or county office being considered during the 2012 election seasons, contact the Escambia County Probate Judge’s office or the city clerk in Atmore.