Updated: The Progress was informed by the Talking Rock clerk this morning that Mayor Peter Q. Cagle died yesterday. He had been hospitalized in serious condition following a recent stroke.
Cagle was known as a friendly and hard-working mayor in Talking Rock, performing a good deal of work around town himself.
Election officials are predicting very light advanced voting among residents of Talking Rock and Nelson where council and mayor seats are up for grabs on Nov. 5.
Elections Supervisor Julianne Roberts said they may go days without seeing anyone coming for the advanced ballots at the elections headquarters on Pioneer Road (across from the Jasper city ball fields).
She said the polling spots for the two towns are much closer to the voter bases in Talking Rock and Nelson and she predicts most people will wait until election day. “I bet most of the early votes we get are people who will truly not be able to vote on election day,” she said.
Those wishing to vote early, may cast ballots Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. at the Pioneer Road office through Nov. 1.
On Nov. 5, regular polling locations will be open. The Pioneer location will not be.
Only voters in Talking Rock and Nelson have election duty this fall. There are no contested races or issues for any voters in unincorporated areas of the county or in Jasper. Elections office Administrative Assistant Betty Jones said they have had quite a few calls from people outside those areas asking for election information. But there is absolutely nothing to vote on except in Talking Rock and Nelson, Jones said.
The next time all voters are asked to perform their democratic duty will be in March when the county SPLOST ballot is up for decision on continuing the sales tax.
In Nelson, only one candidate, former Magistrate Judge Larry Ray, qualified to run for mayor. The previous mayor had resigned earlier.
There are three candidates running for two council seats with the top two vote getters winning office. Running are incumbents Jackie Jarrett and Edith Portillo along with challenger Thad Thacker, Jr.
In Talking Rock, Roberts said she is surprised by the number of candidates in this election for a town with only between 50-60 total voters.
In addition to unusually high number of candidates, this race in Talking Rock makes history as the first there with posts. Previously candidates for council ran at large in Talking Rock.
It will also be the only time all five council seats are up for election at the same time as they will move to staggered terms following this election.
The races in Talking Rock illustrate well the small community politics with numerous family connections among the candidates and five of the total ten candidates living on the same road, according to election office filings.
Races up for grab in Talking Rock include mayor with Peter Cagle, the incumbent, challenged by Carol Opdenhoff (the city clerk).
For council post 1 Incumbent Angelia Payne (council member Randall’s father) faces Terri Jordan.
Post 2 – Incumbent Lynda Cagle (the mayor’s wife) faces Cheryl Sams (a former mayor);
Post 3 – Incumbent Charles Opdenhoff (mayoral candidate Carol’s husband) is running unopposed.
Post 4 – Incumbent Espey Smith runs unopposed.
Post 5 – Incumbent Randall Payne (council member Angelia’s father) faces Jessica Quinton Wells.