Two more sheriff hopefuls face the chopping block in Columbus

Two more sheriff hopefuls face the chopping block in Columbus
Published: Apr. 28, 2016 at 10:29 PM EDT|Updated: Jan. 10, 2017 at 3:42 PM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - The list of sheriff candidates for an upcoming Columbus election could dwindle even more, as an additional two candidates are now being questioned about their qualifications.

On Monday, the Muscogee County election board will meet at 1:00 p.m. to continue discussions to determine whether candidates Donna Tompkins and Mark LaJoye should be eligible to run for county sheriff. Full arguments and presentations will be held on Monday afternoon.

This is coming after Pamela Brown and Robert Smith were disqualified for late fingerprints.

"I've been in this office 20 years and we haven't challenged four candidates in one election cycle in my 20 years," said Nancy Boren, director at the Muscogee County Elections office.

It has been an unusual election season for local candidates racing to become the next Sheriff of Muscogee County. Thursday afternoon was filled with high stakes and high tension as two candidates were questioned about paperwork and deadlines.

"I don't see why I'm even a part of this. I have a tendency to think that there are political entities involved in this that are trying to move it forward," said remaining republican candidate Mark LaJoye, who is one of two facing the chopping block this week.

LaJoye says he has certified copies of his timely submitted paperwork and says what's going on now is ridiculous.

"People just don't get what all they need to know, what they're supposed to have," said attorney Mark Shelnutt when describing candidates' frustration with the qualification process.

Shelnutt represents Pamela Brown who was already been disqualified over technicalities, and says he too feels something fishy is going on.

"Something already was wrong with the fact that out of five candidates the two that got disqualified were African Americans. I'm just saying it doesn't look right," said Shelnutt.

The board of elections consists of a mix of male and female, white and black representatives who only heard brief arguments Thursday from the remaining candidates in question. 

We asked Shelnutt if he was outrightly claiming racial discrimination.

"Well I'm just saying it seems a little coincidental about how the first two candidates got disqualified," said Shelnutt, "Leave yourself to draw your own conclusions."

We recently spoke to Sheriff John Darr who is running for re-election, and he tells us he's staying out of this drama, focusing on his job and campaign.

Copyright WTVM 2016. All rights reserved.