The Rev. John Smalley filed his qualification papers Wednesday afternoon, Aug. 31, becoming the last of the incumbent city of Thomson elected officials to file for re-election.
Later that afternoon, James Taylor filed his bid to oppose Smalley for the District 2-A council seat.
Smalley said he has been on the council almost eight years, and has lived in Thomson all his 67 years. He is the council's liaison with the fire department. He is pastor of the Woodlawn C.M.E. Church near Pumpkin Center, in Columbia County. He is the former pastor of Vanderhorst C.M.E. Church in Thomson.
He said he would continue with the principles he has followed throughout his public life: demonstrate integrity, work openly, and help with anything.
Taylor, the challenger, told The McDuffie Mirror he wants to make government more transparent. He said he ran a nonprofit organization, Neighborhood Action Team Inc., in McDuffie County for 10 years. That organization worked on beautification projects at the Thomson Housing Authority, conducted a tutoring and mentoring program, and worked on other projects.
"So I am very active in my community," Taylor said.
Other council incumbents filing Aug. 29 were Clifford "Bud" Lunceford (1-A), Jaye Jones (1-B), Alton Belton (2-B) and Bernice Brown (C-3). All are still unopposed after qualifying ended Friday.
Mayor Kenneth Usry filed for a second four-year term. The former banker previously served 29 years on the city council. He is being challenged by businessman Delmar B. "Brink" Bradshaw, a former city councilman.
There was no last-minute rush to qualify. City Clerk Dianne Landers kept a close eye on the time as the 4:30 Friday deadline approached. Landers used the digital clock in her computer as the official timepiece.
She now will submit the names of candidates to the State Ethics Commission. Candidates must complete a financial disclosure and other documents. A report on eligible candidates will be submitted to Kelvin Williams, the director of the Thomson-McDuffie County Board of Elections.
Williams also is busy preparing for a countywide election on Nov. 8, when the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax is up for renewal. He stressed that two elections are separate, and will not have the same voting districts and polling places.
Anyone who has questions or who wants to confirm their voter registration status is encouraged to contact Williams' office at (706) 595-2105.