Commonwealth Journal

Local News

December 31, 2009

Girdler files papers to seek re-election as mayor

Somerset — And the mayor makes three.

Eddie Girdler has filed nomination papers for reelection to a second term as mayor of Somerset, making necessary a primary election for the head man at City Hall.

The May 18 primary, unless somebody else files, will pit Girdler against former Mayor JP Wiles and Larry Wesley, former Somerset police chief and currently chief deputy for the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department. Girdler upset Wiles in the 2006 local elections.

Nonpartisan elections in Somerset require a primary if more than two candidates file for mayor, or in any of the 12 city wards. The two top vote-getters advance to the November general election.

Somerset is divided into 12 wards to assure equal representation on city council for all parts of the city. Each councilor must live in the ward he or she represents but all members of the council are elected citywide. If any ward has more than two candidates, a citywide primary election is held in that ward to reduce the number of candidates to two.

There seems no rush at the moment to file for Somerset City Council seats and no primary contests have developed. Incumbent Jerry Girdler has filed for reelection in Ward 5 and Brent Fleming and Charles (CL) Whitaker have filed in Ward 3.

Filings at the county clerk’s office slowed to a crawl during the Christmas break. Girdler; Michael Todd, a Republican candidate for magistrate in District 1; and Shane Lanham, candidate for mayor of Burnside, have filed since last week’s report.

Chuck Fourman, current mayor of Burnside, has not responded to requests from the Commonwealth Journal about whether he will seek reelection. Nonpartisan candidates in Burnside, Ferguson, Science Hill and Eubank have until August 10 to file.

Michael Todd’s filing upped the record number of magisterial candidates to 42, seven more than filed in 2006, the first year after magistrates doubled their salary package. Several others are expected to file before the January 26 deadline.

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