Politics & Government

What to know about voting, candidates in Perry special election for mayor

Perry will have a new mayor soon.

Early voting is underway in the Sept. 17 special election to fill the unexpired term of Jimmy Faircloth, who resigned in May. He said he was stepping aside to devote more time to his job at Central Georgia Technical College.

Randall Walker, a former city councilman, and Robbin Jackson, a Perdue Farms employee, qualified for the race to finish out Faircloth’s term, which ends in 2021. The City Council has called a special meeting Sept. 23 to swear in the winner of the election as mayor.

What to know about voting

  • All early voting is at the board office at the Old Courthouse on the square in downtown Perry.
  • Early voting is from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday until Sept. 13.
  • On election day, Sept. 17, everyone votes at Rozar Park on Keith Drive.

The candidates

Jackson, 66, said he works “various jobs” at Perdue Farms, and he also sells insurance for Primerica. He said he holds a bachelor’s degree in business education and a masters of guidance counseling, both from Fort Valley State University. He previously ran unsuccessfully for City Council and for the Houston County Board of Education.

Jackson said he has been a certified teacher since 1975, but has not been able to get a full-time teaching job in the Houston County school system. He said one of his top priorities as mayor would be to work with the school system to change its hiring practices.

“I cannot get a job as a certified teacher,” he said. “... They only want to hire me as a substitute teacher and that is wrong. It is discriminatory.”

Walker, 72, served on City Council for nine years. He stepped aside when he qualified to run for mayor.

Walker, who is originally from Warner Robins, said he worked 43 years for Chevron in 14 cities around the country. In 2005 he retired to Perry, where his wife is from. He says he holds a bachelor’s degree in business management and marketing from Georgia State University. He cited three priorities he would have as mayor.

“One is to improve the quality of life for all of our citizens,” he said. “The second one I would focus on would be keeping the city of Perry financially sound, and the third thing would be to ensure Perry remains a safe place to live and work.”

Walker owns eight buildings in the downtown area. He said he bought the properties out of an interest in historic preservation, but Jackson said he believes Walker would have a conflict of interest as mayor. Jackson said Walker could sway policies as mayor that would be favorable to his interests as a downtown property owner.

Walker denied that, and said he has never accepted any loans or grants available for historic preservation of the buildings while he has been on council. As mayor, he said he would recuse himself from any votes that might directly relate to the properties he owns.

When Walker resigned to run for mayor, the council called another special election to fill the seat in the Nov. 5 election. Darryl Albritton, a former school principal, was the only candidate to qualify and will go into office after the election.

Perry voters haven’t had a chance to vote in many elections for city office in recent years. In the last regularly scheduled city election in 2017 no one qualified to run against the incumbents up for re-election, so the election wasn’t held. That was the second time that had happened in the previous three election cycles.

Council member Willie King is serving as acting mayor.

Wayne Crenshaw has worked as a journalist since 1990 and has been a reporter for The Telegraph since 2002. He holds a bachelor’s degree in print journalism from Georgia College and is a resident of Warner Robins.