Two more candidates qualified Wednesday, setting up contested races in both Rome City Commission wards — and Cave Spring’s Nov. 5 election is canceled.
Cave Spring City Clerk Judy Dickinson said just three candidates had filed to run for the three open seats by the time the qualifying period ended at 4:30 p.m.
Incumbent City Councilmembers Tom Lindsey and Joyce Mink are unopposed for new terms. Former mayor Rob Ware was the only qualifier for the mayoral seat.
“They won’t take office until January, but there’s no election,” Dickinson said.
Mayor Dennis Shoaf, who has been battling health problems, said he decided not to run for office right now, although he may be back in another two or four years.
“I love Cave Spring and I love being a public servant,” Shoaf said. “Bottom line, though — toward the last part of my term I saw I didn’t have enough time to give to the employees and the citizens of Cave Spring. And that’s not fair.”
Still, Shoaf said he has a list of items he wants to accomplish in the next four months and he doesn’t intend to be a “lame duck” through the end of his term on Dec. 31.
Rome candidates have through Friday at 5 p.m. to qualify for the six open seats on the City Commission.
Incumbent Craig McDaniel qualified Wednesday to seek a second term in Ward 3.
He’s the fourth to file for the three open seats, joining incumbent Bill Collins, retiree Bonny Askew and attorney J.J. Walker Seifert. The third Ward 3 commissioner, Evie McNiece, has not said if she intends to run.
Charles Love, a co-founder of the North Rome Community Action Committee, qualified Wednesday to run for one of the three Ward 1 seats.
In addition to his notice of candidacy, Love submitted a statement from the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles certifying that his civil and political rights are restored. He served nearly a year in federal prison after pleading guilty in the 2005 “Tennessee Waltz” bribery sting that brought down a number of high-placed state politicians.
Although Love was a Hamilton County school board member at the time, he said his connection was through his job as a lobbyist. He admitted delivering money to lawmakers in exchange for their votes, but said Wednesday that he took responsibility and learned his lesson. “I regret having done that ... but it did not have anything to do with the board of education. I did not violate the public trust,” Love said.
More than 30 supporters went with Love to City Hall, and they cheered as he made a campaign speech from the steps before going in to qualify. He spoke of how they banded together in North Rome to improve their community.
When asked if his conviction over a decade ago would affect his candidacy, he referred to the group.
“I would say look at what I’ve done since I’ve been in Rome,” Love said.
Three other candidates are also qualified to run for a Ward 1 seat: incumbents Milton Slack and Bill Irmscher and architect Mark Cochran. The third incumbent, Sundai Stevenson, has not said yet if she will seek reelection.