Fitzgerald out, Milton begins BOC term
By Kathryn Schiliro
Republican candidate Keith Fitzgerald was still in the running for the District 5 seat on the county commission after last Tuesday's Primary Election.
While Republican candidate Ron Milton won the District 5 seat for the next full term on the Board of Commissioners (BOC) outright, he and Fitzgerald were slated for a run-off election later this month for the four-month unexpired term of the late Commissioner Sammy Cathey as neither Fitzgerald nor Milton won more than 50 percent of the vote in that Special Election. Fitzgerald received 41.97 percent of votes (400 votes) in the District 5 Special Election to fill the unexpired term, while Milton received 48.79 percent (465 votes).
Last Friday, Aug. 3, Fitzgerald decided to withdraw his candidacy for the unexpired term of Cathey and let Milton begin his time on the BOC. Fitzgerald cited the amount of money it would cost the county to put on the run-off election as part of the reason for the withdrawal of his name.
"The biggest reason (for Fitzgerald's withdrawing his name) is it would've cost the county thousands of dollars to make new ballots, to get workers to work the polls," Fitzgerald said Friday. "I'm a conservative and I believe in saving the taxpayers money. Even if I did win the [run-off] election, I would've only been able to sit on the commission for four months. There's not a lot of time to get things done in four months."
According to Elections Supervisor Bobby Howington, of the Morgan County Board of Elections and Registration, the District 5 run-off would've cost around $3,000, which included printing ballots and paying at least three pollworkers – there would've been three precincts involved – to man the polls.
Fitzgerald went on to say that he believes Milton should go ahead and get started representing District 5.
"We'll pray for him to do a good job and we'll also hold him accountable if he doesn't," Fitzgerald said. "I believe all voters should hold all their elected officials accountable. That's the only way we'll change this country and get it headed in the right direction."
Milton was contacted by Howington Friday and learned of Fitzgerald's decision.
"I was glad to see that because that is the sensible thing to do," Milton said Monday. "If the situation had been reversed, I would have done the same thing."
Fitzgerald said he was pleased to meet the residents of District 5 and thanked them for their support. He also indicated that he plans on again campaigning for the post.
"I look forward to seeing everyone in four years," he said.
Milton was sworn in as District 5's commissioner on Monday afternoon by Probate Court Judge Michael Bracewell. Monday Milton told the Citizen he was going to be at his first Board of Commissioners meeting Tuesday morning, but that he didn't plan to vote on anything as he hadn't yet received the required training nor had he attended the last BOC work session.
"Since I did miss the work session, I will not be voting on anything tomorrow (Tuesday)," Milton said. "But by the second one, I hope to be up-to-date on everything...and will start representing District 5."
In other Morgan County elections news, there will still be a run-off election for the District 3 BOC seat as neither Republican incumbent Mack Bohlen nor Republican candidate Philip Clack won more than 50 percent of the vote.
After last Tuesday's election, Bohlen came in with 48.53 percent of the vote (413 votes) while Clack had 36.55 percent (311 votes).
The District 3 run-off will be held Tuesday, Aug. 21 and district residents can vote in their respective precincts between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. There are five precincts involved in this election, Howington said: Madison West, West Morgan, Rutledge, Bostwick and Apalachee.
District 3 residents can vote early in this run-off election from Aug. 13 to Aug. 17 at the Morgan County Board of Elections at 434 Hancock Street in Madison between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.