Ballot set for election

Published 10:15 am Monday, January 16, 2012

Many Escambia County races will be contested this year — but none will be on the primary ballot in March.
Probate Judge Emilie Mims said the qualifying process had gone smoothly and ended with the final candidates filing necessary papers as late at 4:45 p.m. Friday.
“We only do this a every couple of years,” Mims said. “With some of the ethics law changes and redistricting of the school board districts, keeping things running smoothly has been a challenge. But, generally, things have gone very well.”
Based on those who filed the proper paperwork to qualify as a candidate, Mims said no positions would be up for decisions in the March primary.
“We have a Democrat and a Republican for most of the seats up for election this year with some of the offices being unopposed,” Mims said. “Because of that, there won’t be any county races involved in the primary election.”
Escambia County’s Republican Party President Jeff Peacock said he was pleased with the quality of candidates who had completed the qualifying phase.
“Obviously, we wanted to have a good slate of Republicans on the ticket,” Peacock said. “We are pleased that we have such good, quality candidates running. Having quality candidates not only helps the party, but it helps the community, as well.”
Peacock said the Republican party would dedicate all resources necessary to make sure “all our candidates are elected.”
County Democratic party representative Carmen Vickery said the candidates who have chosen to run as Democrats are dedicated and ready to serve.
“We are pleased to see we had these people step up to run as Democrats,” Vickery said Friday. “They are ready to serve the citizens of this county.”
In Escambia County, four county positions are up for election this year, including probate judge, circuit clerk, three seats on the Escambia County School Board and two seats on the Escambia County Commission. The lone state seat up for election for the county is circuit judge, currently held by Bert Rice.
According to the Alabama Democratic Party’s Web site, Rice had qualified Friday running unopposed as a Democrat.
As of deadline Friday, two candidates had completed qualification procedures for the office of probate judge.
Incumbent Emilie W. Mims has qualified to run on the Republican ticket, with challenger Robert Douglas Agerton running as a Democrat. Agerton’s mother, Rachel Agerton, had previously held the position until her retirement. Mims was appointed to fill the remaining portion of Agerton’s term.
For seats on the county’s school board, two incumbents have qualified with one new candidate entering the race. Incumbent Danny Benjamin, who serves district 2, will run unopposed as a Democrat. Incumbent Jack D. Crutchfield, who serves district 3, is running as a Democrat. He will face challenger Patricia Louise Smith Jacks, who qualified as a Republican in her run for the seat. Incumbent Charles H. “Chuck” Brooks will seek re-election so his seat on the school board serving district 7. Brooks qualified as a Republican in the upcoming election. New to the race is Coleman M. Wallace Sr., who has qualified to run as a Democrat for the district 7 seat on the board.
Two seats are up for election for the Escambia County Commission. Incumbent John Raymond Wiggins, who serves district 2, will run unopposed as a Democrat for the seat. District 4 incumbent, Brandon Smith, will be running on the Republican ticket and will face challenger James H. Hall Jr., who has joined the race as a Democrat.
In the circuit clerk race, two Brewton area residents will be vying for the position — one running as a Democrat and one running on the Republican ticket. The office will be open for a new leader after Kenneth Taylor announced his plans to retire at the end of the current term.
Becki Breckenridge will run for the office of circuit clerk as a Republican with challenger John Robert Fountain running on the Democratic ticket.
Municipal elections will also be held this year; however, qualifying for those offices will not take place until July 3-17. Only those municipal candidates who meet a $1,000-contribution threshold are required to file information with the Escambia County Probate office prior to the official qualifying period.
Those candidates who have met that threshold and have filed early information with the probate office are two Brewton men who hope to win the seat as mayor.
Yancey M. Lovelace Sr. and Frank M. Nalty have both filed contribution forms in the county office. Since the mayor’s race is an “at large” election, candidates are not required to declare a party.