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Qualifying for Cumming City Council election opens Monday
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CUMMING — Qualifying opens Monday for the three Cumming City Council posts up for election Nov. 3.

Potential candidates must be registered to vote, at least 21 years old and have lived in the city limits for at least one year. The fee to qualify is $180.

“They’ll just need to come to my office, which is on the second floor of City Hall,” said City Clerk Jeff Honea. “There’s a notice of candidacy they need to fill out.”

Qualifying runs from 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Wednesday. Those qualifying must declare which seat they are seeking — Posts 3, 4 or 5 — but balloting is citywide. Cumming has about 2,600 registered voters.

“It’s all at large,” Honea said. “They don’t have to live within a geographical district or anything. The post is just a designation, it’s not really an area.”

The election is guaranteed to result in at least two new council members, as incumbents Ralph Perry in Post 4 and John D. Pugh in Post 5 announced earlier this month that they would be retiring after their terms expire at year’s end.

Perry was first elected to the council in 1979 and Pugh in 1993. Both men cited health as a factor in their decisions.

The third incumbent, Lewis Ledbetter, has said he plans to defend his Post 3 seat, which he has held since 1971.

After years of not having an election — the last previous contested race had been in 2003 — Cumming will have two in a less than five-month span.

Post 1 Councilman and local banker Chuck Welch won a special election in June to replace former councilman Rupert Sexton, who stepped down from his post earlier this year to enjoy retirement. About 18 months remained on the term.

Welch became the second member of his family to be elected to the council. His late father, Charles Welch, served on it from 1972-86.

Welch was the top vote-getter in a four-person field that also included Linda Ledbetter, a former county commissioner, Julie Tressler, a real estate agent and small business owner, and Roger Crow, a past president of the local chamber of commerce.

The remaining city posts were up for election in 2013, when Mayor H. Ford Gravitt and Post 2 Councilman Quincy Holton ran unopposed for four-year terms. Holton has served on the city’s governing body since 1969 and Gravitt took office in 1970.

Advance voting for the election is scheduled to begin Oct. 12.