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Canton alderman candidate backs out of race

Canton alderman candidate backs out of race

The race to fill an unexpired aldermanic seat in Canton just got a lot easier for Pisgah High School science teacher Tim Shepard.

“We just bought a house, and it’s just a little bit outside of town limits," said candidate Aaron Jones, who filed to run for the seat a few months ago. "I checked with the board of elections and found out that if elected, I couldn’t hold the seat."

This late in the process, however, Jones won’t be able to have his name removed from the ballot, so he wants voters to know he’s thrown his full support behind Shepard.

“He’s a great guy from a great family, and will be a great alderman,” Jones said. “Anyone who had any support for me should vote for Tim Shepard.”

If voters don’t get the message about Jones and he is somehow elected, the Canton Board of Aldermen/Women would then have to appoint someone to fill the seat until the next municipal election, in 2021.

The election was only made necessary this past summer under similar circumstances; Alderman James Markey, who was elected in 2017, had to step down from his seat mid-way through his term because he had moved out of the district. When he did, Canton officials were faced with the prospect of appointing someone to fill Markey’s seat, but since it was so close to the election, they decided to leave it vacant and let voters decide.

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With Jones’ withdrawal, that leaves three alderman seats up for election, but all of them are now uncontested — Alderwoman Gail Mull and Alderman Ralph Hamlett will each earn four-year terms, and Shepard will fill the last two years of Markey’s.

Canton Mayor Zeb Smathers said he’d be calling Shepard soon to congratulate him.

“It seems to be that the board is set,” said Smathers. “We’re excited to get Tim on as part of this board and get him going, to hear his vision and continue the good work we’ve been doing.”

Look for more on this story – and other municipal election races – in next week’s edition of The Smoky Mountain News, on stands and online next Wednesday, October 16.

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