Warner Robins’ Election Supervisor held three hearings to decide whether certain city council candidates can legally be placed on the ballot in November.
Zachary Collins, Kevin Lashley, and Eric Langston all had at least one person file a challenge against them.
Where the candidates lived and for how long were the questions of the day.
City rules say you cannot run for office unless you have lived in the city for a full year.
Each candidate and challenger made their statements and while there are no final decisions yet, Michelle Riley, the city’s Election Supervisor, said she will have an answer for each candidate by the end of the week.
Riley challenged Zachary Collins who is running for Post 2 after she accepted his paperwork.
She stated the address on his voter registration was outside the city limits.
Collins said when that was pointed out to him, he went to update that old address to his home in Warner Robins, where he said he has lived since March of 2018.
"The evidence is there. The truth was told so I think it can go as good as -- and now its up to somebody’s opinion," Collins said.
He also claimed he was not informed there would be a hearing until he saw it on the news.
Councilman Tim Thomas’s wife, Carol Thomas, filed a challenge against Kevin Lashley, who is running against her husband for Post 4.
She argued he and his family were still living outside of the city limits after the qualifying date. She presented his utility bills, Facebook posts, and public records from the tax assessor’s office as evidence.
"As long as the laws are followed, I’m satisfied with whatever decision is made," Thomas said.
Lashley said Thomas’ argument is based on circumstantial evidence. He said he has lived in Warner Robins for the full year, both at his in-laws' house and the family's new home in the city.
He had two other people file challenges against him, but one was not present at the hearing and the other provided no evidence supporting his challenge.
Lashley said being challenged was no surprise.
"To get blow-back like this from the existing council is totally expected… Warner Robins is ready for change, its ready for good leadership, its ready for good quality leadership," Lashley said.
Eric Langston is also running for Post 2 and was the final hearing of the day.
Harry Lee Wingate argued that Langston lives in Bonaire, but provided no evidence to support his claim.
Langston says he has lived in his current home in Warner Robins for the last five years and presented his drivers license and utility bills as evidence.
"I have nothing to hide. It was great to have someone challenge," Langston said. That’s what its all about. I’ve lived in this city all my life and I plan to stay here all my life."
Warner Robins Attorney Jim Elliott, who has worked for the city for over 30 years, said these are the first city council candidacy challenges he has been a part of.
Elliott also said whichever party the election supervisor rules against, has 10 days to request a review of record to the Houston County Superior Court.
All three hearings were held at City Hall.
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