Saturday, February 22, 2020

Bagley Not Seeking Reelection To Oconee County Board Of Eduation, Creating Open Seat

***Odom And Burgess To Qualify***

Oconee County Board of Education Chair Tom Odom and Board Member Tim Burgess announced on Friday that they plan to seek reelection and qualify for the May 19 Republican Party primary.

Board of Education Member Wayne Bagley announced that he will not seek reelection, creating an open seat on the five-person Board. The terms of School Board Member Kim Argo and School Board Member Amy Parrish do not expire until 2022.

Board of Commissioner Chair John Daniell has announced that he will stand for reelection, as have Commission Member Mark Saxon and Commission Member Mark Thomas. The terms of the other two Board of Commission members, William “Bubber” Wilkes and Chuck Horton, end in 2022.

Two candidates have announced for the Republican Party nomination for Sheriff, to replace retiring Sheriff Scott Berry: James Hale and Jimmy Williamson.

The two are featured speakers at the Oconee County Republican Party meeting from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Monday at the Oconee County Chamber of Commerce, 55 Nancy Drive in Watkinsville. Carolyn Fisher, first vice chair of Georgia Republican Party, also will speak.

Three candidates have announced their intention to qualify for the nonpartisan Probate Court Judge position now held by Judge David Anglin, who is retiring: Mike Hunsinger, George Roberts and Jimmy Williams.

Qualification begins at 9 a.m. on March 2 and continues through noon on March 6 at the Board of Elections and Registration opposite the Courthouse in Watkinsville.

March 2 also is the first day to cast a ballot in early voting for the March 24 presidential primary, also at the Board of Elections and Registraton. Voter registration for that election closes on Monday at that same office.

Burgess, Odom and Bagley

Odom sent a news release on Friday to Michael Prochaska, editor of The Oconee Enterprise, and asked Prochaska to forward a copy to me.

Bagley And Burgess School Board Meeting 2/3/2020

“Tom Odom and Tim Burgess both announced that they will qualify for reelection to their respective Oconee County Board of Education Seats during qualifying period of March 2-6,” the news release said.

Odom won election as Board Chair in 2012. He is a retired principal of 17 years with the Oconee County School System.

Burgess was appointed to the Board in March 2014 and elected to a full term in 2016. Burgess is a former state budget director and former senior vice president for Finance and Administration at the University of Georgia.

“Wayne Bagley is currently serving his tenth year as a Board Member and has decided that this year will be his last,” the news release stated. Bagley is vice president of Development at Lassiter Properties Inc. of Atlanta.

I contacted Fran Thompson and Andrea Wellnitz who had run as Democrats in 2018 against Argo and Parrish respectively and asked if they planned to run this year.

Thompson told me in a telephone conversation today that she will not run, but Wellnitz, also in a telephone conversation, said she is considering qualifying for the race for the open seat.

Candidate Forums

The Oconee County Chamber of Commerce announced this week details of a candidate forum scheduled for 6 to 8 p.m. on March 17 at North Oconee High School.

Odom At Oconee GOP Meeting 11/3/2019

Candidates for the following offices will be invited: Coroner, Clerk of Superior Court, Tax Commissioner, Board of Education, Sheriff, Judge of Probate Court, and Board of Commissioners.

Andrew Wallace, Chamber Board member and local business owner, will serve as moderator.

Courtney Bernardi, Chamber president, said candidates for the county’s two House and single Senate districts are not included “due to time constraints.”

The Oconee County Republican Party also has scheduled a candidate forum for April 27 at the North High Shoals City Hall.

Fluid Situation

While some candidates have announced their intentions to qualify, as Odom and Burgess did on Friday, no decision is final until a candidate qualifies for the office and pays the qualification fee.

Bishop Mayor and former County Commissioner Johnny Pritchett announced his plans on Facebook to challenge Commission Chair Daniell.

Carol Bennett, a member of the county’s Family and Children Services Board, announced her plan to run for County Commission chair at a Oconee County Republican Party meeting.

Bennett, Daniell, and Pritchett have said they plan to run as Republicans in the May 19 primary.

The Oconee County Democratic Party has had difficulty fielding candidates in local races.

Thompson and Wellnitz were the only Democrats on the ballot for county offices in 2018.

Democrat Mokah Jasmine Johnson has announced her plans to run against incumbent Republican Houston Gaines in House District 117 and Democrat Jonathan Wallace has said he will run against incumbent Republican Marcus Wiedower in House District 119.

Zachary David Perry announced at the Oconee County Democratic Party meeting last week that he plans to challenge incumbent Republican Sen. Bill Cowsert in Senate District 46.

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