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PTC election to heat up Tues. at Rotary candidate forum

Spectators can submit questions in writing; handicap best options for mayor, 3 council seats

With a field of 12 candidates running for the mayor and three city council posts in Peachtree City, how’s a discerning voter to sort them all out?

A great place to start would be the annual Rotary Club candidate forum Tuesday night (Oct. 8) at the Wyndham Peachtree Conference Center. Not only is it a revered political tradition in Peachtree City politics, but audience members can pose questions in writing.

Depending on how the election shakes out, the city council could end up with four new faces in its five seats on the dais at City Hall. The mayor’s race has five candidates, with another seven residents vying for three council seats.

The forum will focus on the aspiring council members first, as they will be introduced and grilled from 6:30 to 7:45 p.m. The mayoral candidates will be introduced and probed between 7:50 and 9 p.m.
The questions will be presented to the candidates by a panel of Rotarians. Only issue-related questions will be accepted for consideration, club officials have said.

In the race for mayor, incumbent Don Haddix has drawn four challengers, which almost guarantees a runoff election presuming no one wins more than 50 percent of the vote. Among the hopefuls are former mayor Harold Logsdon, current councilmember Vanessa Fleisch, former council member George Dienhart (who had to resign mid-term last month in order to qualify for the mayor’s race) and political newcomer Ryan Jolly, a businessman.

The winner will serve four years as mayor.

Likewise, four-year terms will be awarded to the victors in the Post 3 and Post 4 faces, while the Post 2 winner gets little more than two years in filling the seat vacated by Dienhart.

Running for the Post 3 spot are incumbent Kim Learnard and the mayor’s wife, Cathy Haddix. In the mix for the Post 4 seat are former Peachtree City police captain Terry Ernst and web developer Stephanie Franz.

The shortened Post 2 term has attracted quite a crowd: Recreation Commission Chairman and homemaker Shayne Robinson; Vietnam veteran and retiree Mike King; and political newcomer Austin Chanslor, an advanced field technician for Mastec Advanced Technologies.

Because they lack incumbents, the Post 4 and Post 2 races are guaranteed to provide an infusion of fresh faces, and perhaps perspectives, to the five-member council. That makes the other results even more interesting, with the possibility of a new face in the mayor’s office ... or not; and perhaps Mrs. Haddix replacing her husband’s foe Learnard ... or not.

The only sure bet for the 2014 city council is holdover Post 1 councilman Eric Imker, who is in the middle of his second four-year term.

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