Former Paulding Republican Party chairman Vernon Collett will challenge Post 3 Commissioner Tommie Graham, and contractor Tony Crowe will challenge Post 4 Commissioner David Barnett, on the May 20 ballot. Graham defeated Collett in the 2010 Republican primary, while Barnett defeated Crowe in a 2010 runoff.
- POST 4: Barnett said he is seeking re-election because he continues to be the most qualified candidate, including four years on the commission and five years on the zoning board of appeals. He is also a longtime Paulding businessman.
The one-term commissioner said in the next four years he wants to help develop Paulding as a location for large-scale youth sports tournaments, which help bring sales to local businesses and large amounts of sales tax revenue to their host cities.
Crowe, who also lost a bid for county commission chairman to David Austin in 2012, said he was running for the Post 3 seat “to get some integrity on the board.”
“Integrity is when you don’t get up there and rubber stamp everything,” he said, in a veiled reference to commissioners supporting the proposed expansion of Silver Comet Field airport near Dallas.
- POST 3: Graham, a businessman seeking a second full term, said he “strives” to represent his constituents in Post 3 “and understand what I’m voting on.” “You have to look at the whole picture,” he said. He said the top challenge for the commission in the next four years will be to “have a set direction for the county and, as a board, be able to move forward.” Collett, who resigned his party chairmanship last week, said he is seeking the office because “we as a county need to get back to” honesty and integrity in government. “We should keep people involved and engaged, not alienate them,” he said. He noted all levels of government face low approval ratings. The top challenge for the county commission in the coming four years is “winning back the approval of the people.” Post 3 includes southeastern Paulding and the Hiram area.
- POST 2: Incumbent Todd Pownall, a real estate agent seeking a second term, said he is asking re-election because he has shown his Post 2 constituents he is “willing to stand firmly and not waver from what I believe in.” “I’ve kept my commitments to be open, honest and transparent. I stand for what I know the people want me to stand for,” he said. Pownall took the lead in opposing the proposed expansion of the airport after he said he was not told about a potential tenant’s plans for commercial flights until it was made public in October. He said the commission’s main challenge in the next four years is operating in a transparent way, and making sure funding is in place for the planned Richland Creek Reservoir. Post 2 includes southern and southwestern Paulding, including the New Georgia area.