A third candidate has joined the race for Forsyth County coroner.
Mark Musselwhite will vie with Mary Beth Pais and Harold “Hal” Bennett, all of whom are Republicans, for the position in the July 31 primary.
The contest will more than likely decide the next coroner, as no Democrats qualified to run.
The incumbent coroner, Lauren McDonald, is not seeking another term and is instead running for sheriff.
Musselwhite, a licensed funeral director and embalmer, said his qualifications and desire to serve the community make him the best person for the office.
“A lot of being a coroner is dealing with the people and working with them at a point in their life where they’ve lost a loved one,” Musselwhite said. “It goes hand in hand with my experience in the funeral industry.”
He added that he’s also used to being on call 24 hours a day and responding in the middle of the night.
The investigative side of the job, he noted, can be learned through the required training.
Musselwhite works at McDonald & Son Funeral Home, which is owned by the current coroner and his father.
He does not work for the county with McDonald in his role as coroner, he said.
Pais is a registered nurse and faculty member at the Byrdine F. Lewis School of Nursing and Health Professions at Georgia State University.
Bennett retired after 23 years with a medical examiner as a forensic investigator in both Cobb and Gwinnett counties.
If elected, Musselwhite plans to increase the efficiency of the office by implementing a data management system and working with neighboring counties to share resources.
As a member of the Forsyth County Tea Party Patriots Alliance, he said he plans to review the budget and “determine cuts that can be made while maintaining the highest quality standards,” according to a news release.
Musselwhite graduated from Georgia College & State University with a degree in bachelor’s business administration in marketing. According to the news release, he worked in sales and customer service before entering his current field.
Musselwhite and his wife, Jessica, live in south Forsyth County with their daughter, Brooke.