In a first, mayor, wife both on PTC ballot
UPDATED for print — In an unprecedented development sure to liven up the November election in Peachtree City, the wife of current mayor Don Haddix qualified at the last minute Friday to oppose one of her husband’s most frequent critics on the City Council.
Cathy Haddix, 60, is seeking the Post 3 seat currently held by Councilwoman Kim Learnard, who is seeking re-election.
Mayor Haddix also filed re-election papers last week, and Mrs. Haddix’s entry into the race may well be the first-ever time in Fayette history that a husband and wife will appear on the same ballot in a municipal election.
Qualifying ended Friday at 4:30 p.m. and the five candidates who pledged they would seek the mayor’s spot officially signed their names on the dotted line: current council member Vanessa Fleisch, 52, a Realtor; recently-resigned Post 2 Councilman George Dienhart, 46, an information technology consultant; former Mayor Harold Logsdon, 68, retired; local businessman Ryan Jolly, 34, of Jolly Technologies; and incumbent Mayor Don Haddix, 62, retired.
The battle with Logsdon and Mayor Haddix will be set on the backdrop of the libel suit Logsdon filed against Haddix, who wrote in an email to a city staffer two years ago that Logsdon was “part drunk” at council meetings. The case was ultimately settled in Logsdon’s favor.
Mrs. Haddix in her candidate announcement to The Citizen said she agrees with her husband on a myriad of issues involving the city, including the need for a comprehensive strategic plan and reactivation of the Peachtree City Development Authority. Like her husband, Mrs. Haddix says the city has “a spending problem” that is counteracted by tax increases instead of budget cuts.
The short two-year term of the Post 2 council seat has drawn some unexpected interest. Recreation Commission Chairman Shayne Robinson, 55, a homemaker, has filed for that seat, along with Vietnam veteran and retiree Mike King, 54, and political newcomer Austin Chanslor, 25, an advanced field technician for Mastec Advanced Technologies.
Robinson, who had not previously announced her candidacy, said in an announcement to The Citizen that she has been able to work with staff and council members “on a vast array of issues related to city government” through her service on the recreation commission and as a director for the city’s convention and visitors bureau.
Robinson said she wants to make sure the city invests wisely so its children “can be proud to have a place to call home.”
Chanslor had not submitted a candidate announcement to The Citizen by press time.
The Post 2 seat has a shortened term of just more than two years because it was abandoned by Dienhart, who had to resign from office to seek the mayor’s post. Whoever wins the seat will be able to take office immediately.
Former Peachtree City Police Captain Terry Ernst, 62, retired, has qualified for the Post 4 seat, and will be opposed by web developer Stephanie Franz, 39. The Post 4 seat is being vacated by Fleisch, who is declining to run for her council seat so she can run for mayor. Ernst had previously announced for the spot and Franz has yet to submit an announcement to The Citizen.
The five-way mayor’s race almost guarantees a runoff election, as a majority vote is required to claim the seat. If none of the five candidates gets a majority, the top two vote-getters will go head to head in the runoff to determine the winner.
The only sure thing is that holdover Councilman Eric Imker will have at least two new faces to work with starting in 2014, and he might have up to four new compatriots depending on how things shake out at the ballot box.