THOMASVILLE- Qualifying for the upcoming May election began on Monday, March 4, where 13 individuals qualified for a range of positions.

The positions of sheriff, Magistrate Court judge and one of the county commission seats have multiple candidates after only a day and a half of qualifying.

The position of sheriff, currently held by R. Carlton Powell, saw three individuals qualify.

School Resource Officer for Thomas County Schools and D.A.R.E. officer Lelia Spires qualified, as did retired State Trooper Joe Futch and current Thomas County Criminal Investigations Division Commander Captain Tim Watkins.

County Commissioner District 8 Zippy Vonier re-qualified for his seat and will find himself up against challenger Jimmy Woodward.

The opening for Magistrate Court Judge saw two individuals toss their hats into the ring, including current Animal Services Captain Chuck McDonald and Matthew T. Shiner.

In a press release, Shiner shared his 20-year experience of working in a private legal practice, confronting complex legal issues in the lives of his clients.

“I believe that Thomas County can set the standard in the state of Georgia,” the press release said. “To get there, we must identify the dysfunction at every level of government and begin forming solutions so we can provide this community with the excellence it deserves.”

In order to do this, Shiner said he believes a fresh perspective is needed on the Magistrate Court.

“I want to do my part to ensure that Thomas County remains a safe place to live, work, operate a business, and raise a family,” he said.

Shiner currently is raising three children with his wife, Kelly, and hopes to be an example of a pillar in the community.

“I’m so grateful for the opportunity to help strengthen our local legal system,” Shiner said. “All of the citizens of Thomas County deserve every ounce of my energy and I promise to give it if elected to the office of Chief Magistrate.”

As of Tuesday at approximately 12:48 p.m., these are the only contested races.

County Commissioner for District 2, Moses Gross, and County School Board District 4 member Christoper Hayes re-qualified. As did, County Commissioner for District 4, Wiley E. Grady.

In the race for Clerk of Superior Court, incumbent Randa D. Wharton re-qualified.

Andrew Pope re-qualified for the position of Solicitor General and Mark E. Mitchell re-qualified for the position of State Court Judge.

Qualifying for all positions will continue until noon on Friday at the Thomas County Elections Office, located at 1402 E. Jackson St. in Thomasville.

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