Laurens County Councilman Keith Tollison announced this past week that he will seek re-election to his District 5 seat on council.
But the race will be crowded in the fifth district headed to the June 12 Republican Primary. Meanwhile, District 4 Councilman Stuart Jones will go unchallenged barring a write-in campaign. The filing period for November’s General Election ended this past Friday.
Laurens resident Dale Mitchell and Gray Court’s Jeffrey Carroll will challenge the incumbent Tollison in District 5. All three candidates have registered as Republicans, so the winner of June’s GOP Primary will be the presumptive winner of the General Election.
Tollison has received criticism for extended absences from county council meetings due to job responsibilities that have taken him out of town. He currently commutes weekly to Camden, N.J., but said he expects to be working closer to home prior to the general election in November.
“Even during my time away, I assure you I have continued to work and serve District 5, including collaborating with fellow council members by phone, text and email and regularly visiting the various offices, department heads and staff members,” Tollison said in a release.
“Because I feel I have made a positive impact in the county and am certain my work situation will change, I have filed for re-election. I hope to continue serving as your council member and look forward to working with you as we continue to build Laurens County.”
Mitchell, a U.S. Air Force veteran, business owner and local youth sports coach, took Tollison to task for his absences in a release announcing Mitchell’s candidacy.
“I’m running for Laurens County Council District 5 because I want to make a difference and have a positive impact on Laurens County,” Mitchell said in his announcement. “This first step in making a difference is to show up, and I commit to the voters of District 5 that I will be present and active in all county council meetings.”
He said he is committed to bringing “accountability and transparency to the work of county council.”
Mitchell also said he is passionate about working with youth in Laurens County.
“Working with the youth in our community is very fulfilling,” he said. “Supporting our youth is something I feel very strongly about.”
In addition to serving as a youth sports coach, Mitchell has been a volunteer with the Sandy Springs Fire Department and currently serves on its board of directors.
Attempts to reach Carroll by phone for this story were unsuccessful.