Four seek three posts in special election

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By Sharon Graves


The News-Democrat

Candidates in one of three special election races set for November will face opposition as Carroll County Democrats and Republican executive committees selected their slate of candidates this week.

The race for District Three constable will be contested after Republicans Monday night nominated Forrest Poland and Democrats tapped Chris Crase as their candidate Friday night.

The committees were required by state law to nominate candidates to be placed on the November ballot for three posts that have been vacated mid-term.

Candidates were selected from a pool of hopefuls who applied to the committees for consideration to be placed on the ballot.

At Friday night’s Democratic Executive Committee meeting at the William L. Wheeler Hall of Justice on Clay Street, the party selected David Wilhoite for county coroner, Alice Marsh for county clerk, along with Crase for constable.

The Republican Executive Committee met Monday and chose Poland for District Three Constable as the only candidate for the GOP’s ballot.

Republicans had no applications for the coroner or county clerk positions, deciding to pass on both seats for this year.

The posts came open this year following two retirements and one death.

Darrell Lykins retired from the Carroll County Water District, which forced him to also retire as the District Three Constable. Marketta Brock retired as the Carroll County Clerk July 31. Coroner Jimmy Dunn died in May leaving his post vacant.

Judge Executive Harold “Shorty” Tomlinson appointed three people to serve in the vacated positions until the election in November.  

Rhetta Lykins was appointed to serve in the constable’s position, David Wilhoite was tapped for the coroner’s position; and Patty Mefford will serve until November in the county clerk’s position.

Twenty people serve on the Democratic Executive Committee and all but one were in attendance when they met Friday, according to Mitchell Perkins committee chairman said.

Each of the 13 applicants for the three positions had two minutes to make a presentation as to why they should be the candidates.  

The coroner’s position had three applicants, the clerk’s position had two applicants, and the constable’s position had eight applicants.  

Once the applicants made their presentation all were asked to leave and a vote by secret ballot was conducted, Perkins explained.

“We don’t want to discourage any candidates from coming out in two years for these positions,” Perkins said.  “We appreciate those that did apply. It shows interest. Our system would turn around if everyone would vote.”

The Republican Executive Committee met Monday night at the Realty World office in the Parklane Shopping Center on Highland Avenue.

The Republican committee had the option to look outside the party for a candidate if they did not have an applicant from within, according to state law.  

Three Democrats did call and ask the GOP to consider them for the office of District Three Constable, however, the committee was able to nominate Poland, a Republican, for the slot, according to committee chairperson, Cara Jimenez.

No Republicans or Democrats came before the Republican Executive committee Monday night applying for either the county clerk or coroner’s office, leaving the constable’s race as the only one contested this fall.

The Republican Executive Committee was recently formed after several years with no official presence according to committee secretary Charles French.

“There has been no committee for maybe four or five years and we have a good core group now,” French said.