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2 mayors up as Bullochs 4 towns face elections
Mayoral positions up for grabs in Statesboro, Register
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Incumbents mayors Jan Moore, of Statesboro, and Barbara Rushing, of Register, will be up for re-election this November.

All four towns in Bulloch County are scheduled to hold elections for council seats Nov. 7, but only Register and Statesboro have mayors up for election.

Candidates across Georgia have to qualify during the week of Aug. 21–25 to get their names on their city’s ballots.

In Brooklet and Portal, mayors were last elected in 2015 and so are not up for election until 2019. But each of those towns has three of its five council seats due for election this year, while Register and Statesboro each have two council seats due.

For those not already registered, the deadline to register to vote in the Nov. 7 elections is Tuesday, Oct. 10, with Oct. 9 being a state holiday.

 

Running in Register

Register Mayor Barbara Rushing was a member of the Town Council beginning in 2014 and was mayor pro tempore when then-Mayor John Williams resigned at the end of 2015. The council appointed Rushing mayor in January 2016, and she is filling Williams’ unexpired term until Dec. 31.

Last week she said she will seek election to a new four-year term.

“We have so many projects that have already gotten started, and I just wouldn’t feel right about not running with so many things hanging out there in limbo,” Rushing said. “I hope that whenever I do leave that I leave things at least settled and on stable ground.”

Bulloch’s smallest incorporated town, population 175 at the 2010 census, Register has faced serious recent challenges. The council suspended the town’s Police Department in December 2015 over concerns about expenses and some fine-surcharges that had not been turned over to the state. But the council reinstated the department in January and earlier this month appointed Kelphie Lundy, previously chief in Guyton, to be a part-time police chief for Register.

Meanwhile, Register Town Hall was destroyed by a fire in April. The building was insured, and the town government is now having a new one built among historical buildings in the middle of Register.

“They actually tore down two end buildings and will be rebuilding those with new brick that looks like the historic brick,” Rushing said. “That will be the Town Hall and the Police Department.”

Register also has two council seats up for election. These are the seat held by T.J. Newman and an open seat, vacant since January after former member Karin Stenborg resigned to move elsewhere. Newman has been on the council only since January, appointed after Brittany Brannen also resigned because of other responsibilities, Rushing said.

As in all Bulloch County towns except Statesboro, Register’s council seats are elected at-large, with registered voters anywhere in town eligible to vote or become a candidate for any of the seats. Officially, the seats up for election are Seat 1 and Seat 2.

In Register, the qualifying fee for mayoral candidates is $25; the fee for council candidates is $15.

 

Statesboro

As previously announced, Statesboro Mayor Jan Moore, first elected in 2013, plans to seek re-election.

“I will be running for re-election this fall,” Moore emailed in March. “We have accomplished so much as a city over the last three years, and I am very excited about the foundation we now have to build upon.”

She has not changed her mind, she said last week.

The Statesboro City Council seats up for election are those held by Phil Boyum, from District 1, and John Riggs, from District 4. In Statesboro, council members must reside in their districts. Both Boyum and Riggs have said they plan to seek re-election.

Like Statesboro’s population, now estimated at more than 31,000, its qualifying fees for city offices are several times larger than those of Bulloch’s other towns. The fees, roughly equal to 3 percent of the gross salary for each office, are $560 for Statesboro mayor and $227 for a council seat.

 

Brooklet

In Brooklet, the three council posts to appear on the ballot are Seat 3, held by Jim Stanoff; Seat 4, held by Greg Schlierf; and Seat 5, held by William Griffith. Brooklet City Administrator and Clerk Angela Wirth said she hasn’t heard any of them say they won’t run and believes they will.

The candidate qualifying fee for a council seat in Brooklet is $54.  

 

Portal

In Portal, Seat 1, held by Sissy Carter; Seat 3, held by Jerry Lanigan; and Seat 4, which is currently vacant, are all up for election. Seat 4 has been vacant for maybe a year and a half, since the former member who held it was found to live outside the city limits, said Portal Town Clerk Mike Arrieta.

“The council decided to leave the seat open till the election,” he said.

The qualifying fee for a council seat in Portal is $45.

During the Aug. 21–25 qualifying week, candidates must fill out paperwork and pay the fee at the office of the municipal clerk in their town. But Bulloch County Board of Elections personnel will then conduct the elections for Portal, Register and Statesboro while Brooklet conducts its own.

 

Herald reporter Al Hackle may be reached at (912) 489-9458.

 

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