January 7, 2011 10:21:00 AM
"We''d all like to vote for the best man, but he''s never a candidate," humorist Kin Hubbard said a century ago. His words still ring true today, perhaps nowhere more so than in Lowndes County, where nearly no one, aside from incumbents and a couple of the usual suspects, has filed to run for county elections so far.
Qualifying only began on Monday, and candidates have until March 1 to file for county offices including supervisors, clerks and constables, justice court judges, school board superintendent and county attorney.
It''s early yet. But serious candidates tend to file early. As of this morning, only one Lowndes supervisor was facing a challenger. Kenneth McFarland, who ran unsuccessfully for Columbus City Council last year, is seeking Leroy Brooks'' seat in District 5.
We know we''ll have a new sheriff, with Butch Howard''s announcement that he''ll retire after three terms. Two people, both of whom have run for sheriff before, have filed again for that race.
Chancery Clerk Lisa Neese faces a challenge from a political novice. Lowndes County Schools Superintendent Mike Halford hasn''t filed, but if he runs for re-election, he''ll face a challenge from West Lowndes High Principal Cliff Reynolds.
The county prosecutor job is up for grabs, with two candidates seeking the vacancy.
That''s about it.
Maybe the lack of challengers means that the rest of us are satisfied with our current crop of leaders. Yet we often hear otherwise, on the street and in reader letters and comments.
Maybe the best possible candidates are those who are now in office, the same ones who are facing no opposition from any of the rest of us 62,000-odd Lowndes countians.
Maybe that''s the case. The current crop of office-holders probably believes so.
But maybe it''s not the case. We know qualified candidates must be out there, walking among us, who could energize this year''s elections with new ideas for how to move the county forward. So many issues face Lowndes County, not the least of which is how to manage dwindling revenue and resources during the worst economy since the ''30s.
Maybe there are qualified candidates among us to help manage these challenges, who are willing to throw their hats into the ring and contribute fresh blood and fresh solutions to the county''s myriad challenges. Maybe there aren''t. We still have seven weeks to find out.