The race for Newton County chairman became a little more interesting this week with a third candidate definitely throwing her hat into the ring and a fourth candidate rumored to be considering it.
Susette Monk-Harris, a former District 3 commissioner and past chair of the Newton County Republican Party, has qualified to run for county chairman with the Newton County Board of Elections.
"I just feel that there's been a lack of vision and leadership and forward-momentum," said Monk-Harris of current County Chairman Aaron Varner. "We can and we must do better. We've got a dry reservoir sitting unfinished."
Hubert White, a former District 5 commissioner and a prominent local housing developer, is rumored to be considering running as a Democrat for county chairman as well.
Jerry Childers, first vice chairman of the Newton County Democrats, said White announced his intention to seek the Democratic Party's nomination for chairman at a party meeting Monday night.
Monk-Harris served on the Board of Commissioners from 1989-1992.
She was the first Republican elected to office in the county and the first woman to serve on the board. She has also served on the Newton County Water and Sewerage Authority for five years.
"I feel there's no effective business strategy that links the business community and the leaders in a partnership," said Monk-Harris, 53, who is a real estate broker and an interior designer. "We have got to attract commercial growth and major employers. We've got too many unfulfilled goals. My goal is to move this county forward."
Monk-Harris said she was excited with the number of people that have declared their intention to run for office.
"I want people to participate and be involved," Monk-Harris said. "I am so excited about how many people have come forward to run for office this year. I just think it's fantastic."
White, who is rumored to run as a Democrat, in recent months has hosted a fundraiser for Rick Goddard, the Republican candidate for Georgia's Congressional District 8 seat. In 2006 he hosted a fundraiser for Mac Collins, who was then seeking the District 8 seat.
White could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
Ed Hutter, a local developer and businessman, who announced his candidacy for county chairman in January, officially qualified to run as a Republican for the BOC. Varner, who has declared his intention to seek re-election, also as a Republican, has not yet qualified.
Qualification week for the July 15 general primary ends at noon this Friday.
In other Newton County election news:
So far five candidates have qualified to run for Newton County Sheriff:
Newton County Sheriff's Office Lt. Ezell Brown - Democrat
Covington Police Chief Stacey Cotton - Republican
Newton County Sheriff's Office Lt. Gwen Hightower - Democrat
Newton County Sheriff's Office Capt. Marty Roberts - Republican
Newton County Sheriff's Office Lt. Bill Watterson - Republican
Two candidates have qualified to run for District 3 commissioner:
Keith Mitcham - Republican
Nancy Schulz - Democrat
Two candidates have qualified to run for District 5 commissioner:
Tim Fleming - Republican
Randy Vinson - Democrat
Two candidates have qualified to run for Newton County Tax Commissioner:
Incumbent Barbara Dingler - Republican
Doris Strickland - Republican
Eddie Johnson has qualified as a Democrat to run for the Newton County Board of Education's District 2 seat. Almond Turner, assistant chief for CPD, has qualified to seek re-election as a Democrat for the BOE's District 4 seat.
Clerk of Superior Court Linda Hays has qualified to seek re-election as a Republican. Probate Court Judge Henry Baker has also qualified to run again as a Democrat.
State Sen. John Douglas (R-Social Circle) has qualified to run for re-election for District 17. State Rep. Doug Holt (R-Social Circle) has qualified to seek re-election for District 112 as has State Rep. John Lunsford (R-McDonough) for District 110. George Wilson, a former candidate for District 95, has qualified as a Democrat to seek the district's office again.