Columbus attorney seeks candidacy against Ann Hardman

Columbus attorney seeks candidacy against Ann Hardman

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Columbus pastor Ann Hardman may face opposition for the Superior Court Clerk's job during the General Election in November.

Michael Garner, a longtime attorney in Columbus, said he decided less than a week ago to attempt to throw his hat into the ring.

"And the reason for it was my concern about the office and the way things stand, there's only one candidate on the ballot in November and that's Ms. Ann Hardman, who is a minister," Garner said.

Hardman, founder and CEO of Faith Worship Center, International in Columbus won the May 20 primary in a landslide 60 to 40 percent victory against incumbent Linda Pierce, who has been in office since 1989.

"She has no legal experience and she's never worked in the clerk's office and I just think the voters need a choice between someone who is experienced and knows about the clerk's office," Garner added.

We asked Hardman what she thought about Garner's intentions to run against her as an independent.

"I welcome him, I don't know him, but when I read the qualifications for this position it did not require that you be an attorney or I would not have ran for it. But what it requires - I have that plus 39 years of experience in a corporate setting and a nonprofit setting," explained Hardman.

The Muscogee County Board of Elections qualification rules state a high school diploma is required to run the Superior Court Clerk's Office. It goes on to state that any person elected to the office shall satisfactorily complete 40 hours of continuing judicial education prior to taking office and assuming the duties.

Garner has about five weeks to get the required 5,266 signatures. If he gets them, he says he will run as an independent. While Hardman says if that happens, she'll ask her supporters to go back to the polls and vote for her again.

If you're wondering how this process is possible, Garner is running as an independent and they have until July 12 to qualify. If they get the required signatures, their name can appear on the general election ballot on Nov. 8.

Qualifying for independent candidates is from June 27 at 9 a.m. through July 1 at noon.

Independent candidates who are already in office do not have to get signatures to qualify to run in November.

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