Editorial: Busy week of qualifying yields several contested local government races

Competition -- whether on the football field, in the free market or at the ballot box -- is usually a good thing.

When it comes to people seeking elected office, we support the theory of the more, the better. Candidates who face no opposition for an elected position can skate through without ever being made to defend -- or even tell -- the public their stance on issues. Often when that politician gets into his or her elected position, voters aren't aware of the specific ways that official will work to improve the community, state or nation.

Competition allows those ideas and platforms to be vetted publicly, whether on a campaign website, a planned debate or an impromptu discussion at the grocery store, ball field or church. The public should know how candidates stand on the issues.

That's why we were happy to see a busy qualifying week for several of our cities in Whitfield and Murray counties.

Of three positions up for election on the Dalton City Council, only the mayor's slot is contested. Current Mayor Dennis Mock faces former Mayor David Pennington in that race. Two City Council seats face no opposition, meaning incumbent council member Tyree Goodlett will keep his Ward 3 seat and newcomer Derek Waugh, the former Dalton State College athletics director, will take over the Ward 4 seat currently held by Denise Wood, who is not running for reelection.

The Dalton Board of Education will have the most action on election day. Attorneys David Blackburn and Sam Sanders face incumbent Pablo Perez, while Jody McClurg and Fernando Paniagua vie for the seat currently held by Rick Fromm, who is not seeking reelection. Tulley Johnson qualified for reelection to the school board and is unopposed in November.

Two of the three seats on the Varnell City Council up for election this fall will be contested.

There will be one contested race for the Eton City Council.

Neither Chatsworth nor Tunnel Hill will take part in the general election on Nov. 5 since no races have competitors. However, Chatsworth will have a special election to fill the remainder of K.W. Gong's term on the council, which ends in December of 2021. Gong qualified to run for mayor and stepped down from the City Council. Mayor Tyson Haynes is not seeking reelection. The special election is in November. The qualifying dates for the special election are next month but haven't been set.

We appreciate all of the candidates who have offered themselves for public service. And for those who have served and are not seeking reelection, thank you for the time and resources you donated to bettering our community.

The chance for you to make an impact hasn't completely passed. If you live in Cohutta, qualifying for two seats on the Town Council is Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the city clerk's office inside the Town Hall. Up for election are the seats held by J. Shane Kornberg and Shelia Rose. The qualifying fee is $75.

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