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City council qualifying set to begin
Candidates will begin qualifying Monday for one of three seats on the Brunswick City Commission.

The qualifying period for mayor, one of two North Ward seats and one of two South Ward seats will officially begin 8:30 a.m. at the office of the Glynn County Board of Elections at Office Park, 1815 Gloucester St., Brunswick.

Qualifying ends at 4:30 p.m. Friday.

Registered city voters will elect a successor to Mayor Bryan Thompson, whose second and final term will end officially Dec. 31. Up for re-election is North Ward Commissioner Cornell Harvey, who has announced he will run for mayor, and South Ward Commissioner James Brooks, who earlier said he planned to seek another four-year term even though he is currently suspended from office. Brooks was suspended by Gov. Nathan Deal after he was indicted in Camden County for allegedly offering to exchange political favors for money.

Candidates must reside in the ward in which they reside, though voters citywide will cast ballots for both. L Street separates the two wards.

Candidates must pay a fee - 3 percent of the total amount paid commissioners annually - to the elections board to qualify. The qualifying fee for mayor is $416.22, higher than the $302.54 required of candidates for North or South wards. The mayor of Brunswick is paid more because of the expanded duties that go with the office.

Because all three city posts are nonpartisan, candidates are not required to declare political affiliation.

The election is Nov. 5, which will be followed in three weeks by a runoff election in any race with three or more candidates where a candidate fails to receive more than 50 percent of the total vote.

Voter turnout for city elections in the past has been low, but the Glynn County Democratic Party is already working tp improve the track record.

The political party, whose chairman, Starling Sutton, is said to be running for mayor, invited all potential city candidates and city residents to a get-to-know you event earlier this month at Selden Park.

Aubrey Gibbons, second vice chairman of the party, was happy with the turnout.

"Voting is very important," Gibbons said. "You can't say you want something and not make your opinion heard."

Getting more people to vote involves residents getting to know the candidates better, Gibbons said.

Four potential candidates spoke for a maximum of two minutes to about 100 residents. Those attending were then invited to talk one-on-one with the candidates.

Commissioner Harvey, who attended the event, said he, too, feels like it was a success because it allowed him and other candidates to introduce themselves to the public.

"We've got to build back the confidence citizens had in their government," Harvey said.

Other candidates who attended included Sutton, Gary Cook, candidate for the North Ward seat, and Phylicia Harris, who will vie for the South Ward seat.

Gibbons feels that interaction will bring more people to the polls.

"Citizens should be able to go to walk right up to their city officials," Gibbons said.

Last day for city residents to register to vote is Oct. 7.

Candidates also will qualify next week for city elections in Camden County.

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