The number of candidates running for Union County Sheriff could soon double.
At the beginning of May, there were three candidates — two Democrats and one Republican — running for sheriff. Before the month was out, however, a decision by the State Supreme Court reduced that number to one. The court ruled that candidates for public office must provide their parties with a paper copy of their statement of economic interest. The court’s decision forced the Democratic and Republican parties to remove hundreds of candidates from the June 12 primary and the Nov. 6 ballots. Those removed included 10 of the 17 candidates running in Union County.
William Jolly was one of those removed from the ballot in Union County. Jolly, a former sheriff, was seeking the Democratic nomination in a bid to regain his old office when he was removed from the ballot as a result of the court’s decision. After being removed from the Democratic primary, Jolly announced that he would seek to run as a petition candidate in November. To do that, he had to collect the signatures of 5 percent of the registered voters in Union County and by Friday afternoon he’d done just that with plans to gather even more before he turned his petition in to the Union County Voter Registrar’s Office for certification.
“We’ve collected more than 1,100 signatures,” Jolly said. “We’ll still be collecting signatures over the weekend and turn them in on Monday.”
If the signatures collected by Jolly are certified by the Voter Registrar, his name will be placed on the November ballot as a petition candidate. This will bring to two the number of candidates running for sheriff. Currently, incumbent Sheriff David Taylor, a Democrat, is the only candidate on the November ballot. Taylor was the only candidate for sheriff not removed from the primary and general election ballots.
While he will continue to collect signatures until he turns in his petition Monday, Jolly thanked those who have helped him in this effort.
“We’ve really been busy and so have our friends and my wife has been helping a lot,” Jolly said. “I’d just like to thank the people that signed to get me on the ballot. I’m sure we’ve got enough, but a few more won’t hurt. We’ll be out over the weekend. We’re looking forward to November.”
Also seeking to run for sheriff as a petition candidate is Republican Marshal Adams who, along with Jolly, was removed from the ballot by his party in response tothe court’s ruling.
Jolly is the third candidate removed from the ballot to return as a petition candidate.
While the court’s decision reduced the number of candidates running for sheriff from three to one, in Union County Council District 2 it reduced it from three to none. No Republicans were running for the council seat and so the removal of Democrats Curtiss Hunter, Ralph Tucker, and Frank Hart left the district without any candidates to choose from in the primary. Since being removed, Hunter, Tucker and Hart have announced that they will run as petition candidates for the District 2 seat. All three have also said they have collected the required number of signatures and Hunter and Tucker have turned their petitions which have since been certified, gaining them each a spot on the November ballot.
Three other candidates removed from the ballot have also announce their intention to run petition candidacies. Republican Ronda Adams-Palmer and Democrat Chrystal Coffer have said they will run as petition candidates in Union County Council District 3 against incumbent councilman and Democrat Tommy Ford. Democrat Melanie Lawson has said she will run as a petition candidate for Union County Clerk of Court against incumbent and Republican Freddie Gault.
Persons wanting to run as a petition candidate must turn in their petition of candidacy to the Union County Voter Registrar’s Office by noon July 16. For more information call 429-1616.