Change on the horizon for Jackson County board

The coming election season will feature several races that will directly impact southern Jackson County voters, beginning with the election for the District 4 seat of the Jackson County Board of Commissioners. 

Mickey Luker, the current Jackson County District 4 Commissioner presently in absentia, has given his constituents a definitive answer regarding his future with an equally definitive non-answer.

The filing deadline to run for the District 4 Commissioner’s seat passed on Dec. 20. Luker did not file to run for a second term, which is therefore his answer, said Jackson County GOP Chairman Ralph Slaughter. 

“Mickey Luker is not a candidate for the Jackson County Board of Commissioners District 4 seat,” Slaughter said. “He did not file to run by the Dec. 20 deadline. There will be a new Jackson County Commissioner for District 4 come November.”

But until the November 4, 2020 election, Mickey Luker will remain the commissioner from District 4. Slaughter said the criteria for removing an elected official from office are very restrictive. 

“We’re trying to get the Board of Commissioners to do something, but short of death, being medically incapacitated or sent to prison, there is no way to have the commissioner removed,” Slaughter said.

So, the countdown to November begins.

Democrat Mark Jones and Republican Mark Letson did file to run for the District 4 seat this fall. The two will decide who will be the next Jackson County Board of Commissioner to occupy the District 4 seat in about 11 months. 

There will also be a new District 3 commissioner as Ron Mau has thrown his hat in the ring in the race for the State House of Representatives seat from District 119. Mau will face fellow Republican Mike Clampitt on March 3 to determine who wins the right to represent Republicans come November. Early voting will start Feb. 13 and run through Feb. 29.

Slaughter said he intends to campaign hard for both candidates in the District 119 race, as well as for Letson in the Jackson County District 4 race and District 3 Republican candidate Tom Stribling. Three Democrats also filed to run for Mau’s District 3 seat. They are Brad Stillwell, Susan Bogardus and Cody Lewis. 

Jackson County Democratic Party Chairman Frank Burrell said his party has fielded some “very qualified candidates,” for all the locally relevant seats and feels confident his party will be well-represented in the fall. 

“Mark Jones is a former District 4 Commissioner who is very knowledgeable of the district and did a great job during his time as commissioner,” he said. 

Jones, a Cashiers resident, who served as the District 4 Commissioner from 2006-2016, was defeated by Luker in the 2016 election. 

“Mark did a great job as a commissioner before and was well-liked by his constituents,” Burrell said. “He had a great attendance record and did a great job of representing the district. Mark will do a great job if elected.”

Burrell said all three Democratic hopefuls are well-qualified to represent District 3. 

“Whoever makes it in the primaries will represent the party well in November,” he said. “We were pleased to see that many people interested in running for office.”

Overall, Burrell is pleased with the lineup of Democratic candidates running in this year’s election.

“We are pleased with where we are in the election,” he said.