2 Dems enter BoE races; 3 former PTC mayors to battle for Brown’s Post 3 comm. seat


Thursday a.m. Update: 2 more Democrats qualify for Post 5 seats

The Fayette County Democratic Party has announced two more candidates qualified yesterday.

They are county commission Post 5 candidate Pota Coston and Post 5 Board of Education candidate John Culbreth. Coston will face incumbent Republican Allen McCarty and Culbreth will face Incumbent Democrat Leonard Presberg.

See earlier story below for previously qualified candidates:

As of early Tuesday afternoon, only one person had qualified for two open seats on the Fayette County Board of Education, and both will run as Democrats: Ogechi Oparah will seek the Post 4 seat being vacated by Bob Todd, and Leonard Presberg will seek election to the Post 5 seat he currently holds, having been appointed to the role in 2011 following the death of board member Sam Tolbert.

Meanwhile, former Peachtree City mayors Harold Logsdon and Don Haddix have signed up to take on Post 3 County Commissioner Steve Brown on the Republican ticket. And in the race for Post 5 on the county commission, incumbent Republican Allen McCarty has been the only person to qualify so far, officials said.

Interested candidates must qualify with their respective party, not at the county’s elections office.

The Fayette County Republican Party will be open at its headquarters at 174 N. Glynn Street in Fayetteville from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday and Friday from 9 a.m. to noon. For information call 770-716-1545.

The Fayette County Democratic Party is asking candidates to schedule an appointment to qualify with them Monday through Friday by sending an email to admin@fayettedems.org. Participants are asked to put the word “qualifying” in the subject line and explain which seat they will be seeking. For information call committee chair Dawn Mabra at 404-433-0072.

Prospective candidates who have questions about which district they live in for the new county commission and board of education posts on the new district map established by the federal court may call the county’s elections headquarters at 770-305-5408.

Among Fayette’s current state representatives, Democrats Virgil Fludd (Dist. 64) and Ronnie Mabra (Dist. 63) qualified for office, along with Republicans Matt Ramsey (Dist. 72) and John Yates (Dist. 73); none of these have yet to face an opponent as of Tuesday afternoon

Fayette’s Dist. 16 State Senate seat currently held by Ronnie Chance of Tyrone is up for grabs as Chance has said he will not seek re-election. As of midday Tuesday, insurance agent M.H. “Marty” Harbin of Tyrone and Fayette attorney James W. Clifton were the only two candidates to have qualified for that seat, though two others have announced they will seek to fill that post.

In a statement announcing his candidacy, school board incumbent Presberg said the school system needs to innovate to educate students “to apply what they know to the situation they are in.”

“Our students need to not be trained as test-takers but instead nurtured as creative thinkers who can collaborate with their peers and communicate their ideas,” Presberg said. “We must give all of our students opportunities to practice real life skills in real life situations.”

Presberg, a Montessori teacher and former attorney, said that state government officials underfund education “and then complain about the results and blamed teachers, parents and students.”

“We must defend our schools from those that don’t support the idea of public education and use well-honed PR machines to push ‘corporate’ reforms,” Presberg said.

A candidate announcement was not available from Post 4 BoE candidate Oparah by press time Tuesday afternoon.

In his candidate announcement, Logsdon said he wants to serve all Fayette residents.

“The residents of Fayette County and Peachtree City deserve a strong voice and strong effective representation to ensure that we always maintain local control, while building state level relationships that will help us lay the foundation for cooperation and success for the future.”

Logsdon who is retired from Bellsouth and served 38 years in the Army National Guard, said his experience has prepared him to help move the county “into the future and preserve our quality of life.”

Logsdon noted that the county “faces a number of new challenges that will require strong leadership and new policies.”

Logsdon and Haddix both finished out of the running in balloting last fall for the mayor’s slot in Peachtree City. Logsdon beat Brown in a mayoral race in 2004.

As of press time Tuesday, The Citizen had not received candidate announcements for Incumbent Post 3 commissioner Brown, Post 3 challenger Haddix and Post 4 candidate McCarty.

Clifton, who has lived in Fayette County his entire life, practices law in Newnan and says the experience will help him in making law at the legislature.

“As a small business owner, I understand the importance of frugal spending, which allows me to keep prices down for my clients,” Clifton wrote. “I will take the same philosophy to the State Senate to help reduce taxes, balance the budget and limit the size of government.”

Clifton said he supports reforms to add jobs to grow the local economy and he wants to focus on recovery of the real estate sector in particular.

Clifton said he would “work to improve education in Georgia” and help preserve the HOPE scholarship which he said is vital to future job growth here.

Harbin of Tyrone is the owner/president of Harbin Insurance Agency and is a founding member of the South Atlanta Tea Party. He has spoken at Tea Party events across the Third Congressional District and serves on the Third District Committee as First Vice Chairman and served as a delegate to the Republican National Convention in 2012.

“As a small business owner and Tea Party conservative, I believe I bring the right experience to serve all the people of Fayette, Lamar, Spalding, and Pike counties in the state Senate,” Harbin said.

Harbin noted that he has been involved in conservative politics for almost 30 years.

“I have served in volunteer positions in many campaigns for state, local, and national office including Mike Huckabee’s 2008 presidential campaign,” Harbin said.

Harbin promised to fight for less government and more personal responsibility.