Ballot filing begins with 16 qualifying to run in first week

by Sean Dunlap

The first week of qualifying was brisk for those planning to seek elected office in Franklin County as many familiar faces filed their respective paperwork to appear on the 2023 ballot.

Sixteen candidates have officially qualified with the Circuit Clerk’s office thus far for a myriad of county offices.

“People have been coming in while others have picked up paperwork as they consider their options,” Franklin County Circuit Clerk Warren Walker said. “With a little more than two weeks left to file, we’ll see more potential candidates coming in.”

The filing deadline for those seeking local offices — including sheriff, chancery clerk, circuit clerk, tax assessor-collector, justice court judges, constables, two election commission seats and all five beat supervisors — is 5 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 1.

Those who plan to run as either a Republican or Democrat must pay a $100 fee and submit a signed statement of intent.

“Anyone running as an independent will also have to pay a $100 qualification fee with a required petition of signatures from the qualified electors in the district or county-wide — depending on the office being sought,” Walker added.

In a district race, an independent must gain no less than 25 voter signatures while those seeking at-large seats in the county will need to garner no less than 50 names on the petition.

Here is a summary of those who have qualified as of 8 a.m., Tuesday, Jan. 10:

• Two candidates have signed up to run for sheriff — incumbent Tom Tindle and challenger Joseph Cothren.

• Chancery Clerk Jill Jordan Gilbert and Walker, as circuit clerk — both incumbents — have filed to seek another term in office.

• In the race for tax assessor-collector, two candidates have registered to run — incumbent Talina King Matthews and challenger Julie Buckels.

• Justice Court Judges Rickey Van O’Quinn and Larry Wallace, representing Place 1 and Place 2, respectively, have qualified to seek re-election to those seats.

• For coroner, incumbent Billy P. Gill has filed to run.

• All five incumbent supervisors — Ronald Hunt of District 1, Henry “Eddie” Stebbins of District 2, Mike M. “Dirt” Hunt of District 3, Pat Larkin of District 4 and Jimmie “Bodi” Bass of District 5 have filed their paperwork to seek re-election.

• Both incumbent constables — Charles E. Brown of Place 1 and Dewayne Whetstone of Place 2 have qualified to appear on the ballot.

Two other races will appear on ballots in Franklin County — for the District 2 and District 4 election commission seats.

As of Tuesday, no candidate had officially turned in paperwork to seek either post.

Party primaries will be held Tuesday, Aug. 8 (with any runoff races set for Tuesday, Aug. 29).The general election is slated for Tuesday, Nov. 7.

The registration deadline for new voters to cast a ballot in the party primaries will be 5 p.m., Monday, July 10 and for primary runoffs will be 5 p.m., Monday, July 31.

The general election voter registration deadline is 5 p.m., Monday, Oct. 9 and all mail-in sign-ups must be postmarked by Tuesday, Oct. 10.

Candidate filing requirement questions should be directed to Walker at 601-384-2320.