HUNTSVILLE — It appears that a second Scott County office-holder will not seek re-election, and the race for county mayor may be a rematch of the campaign that played out four years ago.
As qualifying heats up for the Scott County General Election, which will be held in August, those are but two of the storylines that are becoming clear early.
According to a list supplied by Scott County Administrator of Elections Gabe Krahn, Kelvin King has filed paperwork necessary to seek the office of road superintendent, an apparent indication that Dick Sexton will not seek re-election.
While Sexton, who was first elected in 2002 and has served four terms as the county’s road superintendent, has not formally announced an intent to retire, King has long served as a supervisor under Sexton in the road department.
Pat Phillips, Scott County’s long-time county clerk, has already announced that she does not intend to seek re-election this year. Her niece and former employee, Felicia Hamby Bilbrey, is one of two candidates who have filed paperwork to replace her. The other is Sandi Carson Chambers. A third potential candidate, Peggy Duncan, picked up paperwork on Wednesday of last week but had not returned it as of the end of the week.
So far, only four of the county’s office-holders have picked up paperwork to seek re-election. Among them are County Mayor Dale Perdue and Sheriff Ronnie Phillips, both of whom will apparently face competition in their re-election bids.
Perdue has already filed paperwork to seek a second term, while former mayor Jeff Tibbals picked up qualifying papers last week. Tibbals was the one-term mayor whom Perdue defeated in 2014.
Likewise, Phillips has filed paperwork to seek re-election, while a former occupant of his office has picked up qualifying papers to potentially run against him. Anthony Lay picked up papers on the first day of qualifying, Jan. 5, but has not returned them. Lay served as Scott County’s sheriff from 2006, when he unseated long-time incumbent Jim Carson, until 2010, when he left near the end of his term to take a job with the U.S. Marshal’s Service. Lay has made little secret of his intent to seek the office he once held in this year’s election.
Other office-holders who have picked up qualifying papers are Circuit Court Clerk Donnie Phillips and Trustee Jimmy D. Byrd. Phillips has served as the court clerk since 2006; Byrd has served as trustee since 1998. Both have returned their petitions.
In the bid for Register of Deeds, long-time incumbent Porter B. “Benjie” Rector Jr. has not yet picked up qualifying paperwork, but potential challenger Tim “Kemo” Garrett — who is currently employed by county government in a maintenance role — has.
All 14 seats on Scott County Commission are up for grabs, and the district campaigns are expected to be busy. Qualifying is off to a slow start, however. As of Friday, only five incumbents had picked up qualifying papers — Sam Lyles in the 2nd District, Sheila Hall Buttram in the 3rd District, Kenny Chadwell in the 4th District, and Rick L. Burke in the 7th District. Several commissioners have — either publicly or privately — indicated that they will not seek re-election.
A handful of potential challengers for the commission seats have also picked up qualifying papers. Among them are David Jeffers and Randall Hamilton in the 1st District, Leonard Bertram in the 2nd District, Harold Chambers in the 5th District and Scott Puckett in the 6th District. Jeffers, Bertram and Chambers are former commissioners, with Jeffers and Chambers unseated by challengers, while Bertram opted against seeking re-election in 2010. Puckett manages Oneida’s Tractor Supply Co. store.
Of the four members of the Scott County Board of Education who are up for re-election, two — Tommy Silcox in the 1st District and Kimberly Ross Kidd in the 4th District — have picked up qualifying paperwork. Silcox returned his papers last week. Fifth District incumbent Esther Abbott and 7th District incumbent John V. Thompson have not yet picked up paperwork, nor have any potential challengers.
Likewise, there have been no incumbents or challengers to pick up paperwork for the three seats up for grabs on the Oneida Special School District’s Board of Education.
The deadline for candidates to qualify for the Aug. 2 general election is April 5.