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District 15 candidate dropping out
Jul 04, 2006 12:00 am
June 27, 2006 The race for the District 15 Wilson County Commission seat is down to two candidates as Ronnie Wilson announced Monday he will no longer campaign for the post.
"I don't think I realized what it was going to encompass when I started," Wilson said Monday of the tasks entailed in campaigning for the position.
In a notice declaring his withdrawal from the race Monday, the semi-retired BellSouth employee said he appreciated the support, but asked his supporters to vote for one of his qualified opponents.
The race now comes down to a battle between Lebanon Public Safety Coordinator Mike Justice and incumbent District 15 Commissioner Billy Swindell. Both candidates had differing views on Wilson's decision to leave the race.
"I was a little disappointed he pulled out," Swindell said. "I thought he was in for good."
Justice admitted a two-man contest is easier compared to three men fighting for votes.
"I feel like a three-way situation was a lot harder than one-on-one," Justice said. "I've been doing a lot of door-to-door campaigning, this could help."
Wilson cited other commitments keeping him from campaigning 100 percent for the office.
"I plan to do some traveling in July," he said.
He also mentioned continuing projects that he has committed to complete. He is working on the telephone pioneers museum at the fairgrounds.
"We're trying to get it ready for the fair." he said.
The BellSouth employee also explained he is still purchasing land for rights-of-way for the major utility company, which requires his time.
"The main thing is I really don't have the time," he said.
But Wilson has no intention of throwing his support one way or the other for the remaining candidates.
"May the best man win," he said.
Hoping to retain his seat on the 25-member Commission, Swindell said he will base his campaign on his eight-year record of service. He believes significant progress has been made during his tenure, especially in the past four years.
"I think we've accomplished quite a bit with only one – no two – tax increases," he said. "I voted for one for the new Wilson Central High School and against the other when they thought they needed more money."
Plus, Swindell pointed out he has never missed a committee meeting and tried to do his best.
"It's what any constituent would ask," he added.
Justice is running for office to get the community more involved in county decisions.
"I would like to see the community represented by interacting with residents" and obtaining community input, he said.
Justice also wants to retain experienced county employees such as teachers, firefighters and deputies.
"It's cheaper to retain an experienced employee because you cut down on litigations," Justice said.
In his talks with some county employees, Justice discovered "the biggest thing is the pay issue."
"I am open to working on solving the pay issues we currently have," he said.
Swindell and Justice will square off in the Aug. 3 General Election.
Staff Writer Kimberly Jordan can be reached at 444-952 ext. 16 or by e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.