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Candidates file across county

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Amid all of the hustle and bustle of the recent winter storm, a slew of candidates filed the necessary paperwork for a place on the ballot in the May 1 General Elections for local municipalities and school districts.

The Cities Dayton, Ames, Hardin and Plum Grove will all have contested races, while the cities of Liberty, Cleveland, Devers, Kenefick and Daisetta will have no elections this May. There are questions regarding the election status of Dayton Lakes and North Cleveland at this time, at least from an official perspective at the Liberty County Office of Elections.

As for the local area schools, there will be elections held in Liberty ISD and Hardin ISD, while there will not be any elections in Dayton ISD, Cleveland ISD, Hull-Daisetta ISD or Devers ISD. Voters in Tarkington ISD and West Hardin CISD both hold elections every other November in even-numbered years.

For residents in the City of Dayton, there are three races on the ballot, with a pair of council seats drawing contested races, while Mayor Caroline Wadzeck will have no opponent in that race. In the contest for Position 4 on the Dayton City Council, Andy Conner will be running for a permanent place on the council after he was appointed to fulfill the term of former councilman John Johnson last year. His opponent will be lifelong Dayton resident Bubba Graves. In the race for Position 5, a number of candidates have filed with former councilman Alvin Burres, Janet Frick, Jose Hernandez and Valorie Barton vying to fill the spot of outgoing councilman Troy Barton.

In the City of Ames, there is only one contested race as current Interim Mayor Cornelius Gilmore, who was appointed this past year to fulfill the term of longtime Mayor John White, has filed for a full term, and he will draw competition from current Position 1 Councilman Emmett Albro. There will be some old and new faces on the council after this May, with a number of uncontested races. In the race for Position 1, Michael Trahan II filed for Albro’s seat, in Position 2, Carlton Rollins has filed to fill that open seat, while Eddie G. White and Audrey Harrison will both see another term on the council in Positions 4 and 5.

On the ballot in the City of Hardin, there is a pair of contested elections on the city council, with Position 1 incumbent Chris Goodwin facing a challenge from Julie Terry, and Position 5 between Jonathon Fajkus and current incumbent Harvey Finley. Mayor Harry Johnson and Position 2 incumbent Brett Clark are both unopposed on the ballot.

The busiest election in Liberty County will be in the Plum Grove community, with four races for voters to decide. City Council Position 1 will be for the seat of the outgoing incumbent Mary Lou Graham Smith, which will give voters two new choices with Deborah Bell and Jennifer Cocker. In the race for Position 3, Barbara Martin Norris, Jacob Clay and Mayra Acosta will vie for that seat. The race for Position 4 will be a special election to fill an open seat, with Calvin Padgett and Floyd Ortiz having both filed the paperwork. Finally, incumbent Dianna Chunn will be unopposed in the race for Position 5 on the Plum Grove City Council.

For voters in Liberty ISD, there will be only one contested race, with Craig P. Girard facing off against Barbara “Barbie” Kelly for Position 4 on the board of trustees, which is currently vacant.

Hardin ISD voters will have only one contested race on the ballot, with incumbent Angie Amyx drawing opposition from Patty Williamson.

Cleveland ISD will not have an election; however, they will have a new face on the school board with Robert Howell filing to fill Position 2 on the board, a seat currently held by the departing Christina Purkerson.

The deadline to register to vote in the May elections is Thursday, April 1 at Spm and voters can request a ballot by mail until Tuesday, April 20. Early voting will begin on Monday, April 19, and voting will be from lam — 7pm on Saturday, May 1. The Vindicator will have more on the candidates vying for these offices in the coming weeks.