On the eve of early voting Andrew Ross Sheppard of Milledgeville City Council’s District 2 race withdrew his candidacy Friday afternoon.
According to Municipal Elections Superintendent Patti Rushin, Sheppard withdrew from the race in writing shortly after 4 p.m.
Sheppard said he came to the conclusion to withdraw following recent conversations with his opponent, District 2 incumbent Jeanette Walden. The 24-year-old said he realized their desires for the city and the southside district were largely similar with regards to Central State Hospital redevelopment and historic preservation.
The recent Georgia College graduate said one of his primary goals in entering the race was to bridge the gap between college-age and older Milledgeville residents. He said based on discussions with Walden, many of the issues she carries a passion for were also important to him as a candidate. Procuring additional sources of funding for CSH redevelopment efforts is one of them.
He also thanked his supporters and urged citizens to get more involved in local government.
“The city officials need to hear from the people,” he said.
Sheppard qualified in August to seek the seat held by Walden, who now runs unopposed. Fellow Council member Dr. Collinda Lee is also unopposed, as is District 4 candidate Walter Reynolds. Councilman Phillip Joiner, the District 4 incumbent, is not seeking re-election.
Early voting begins Monday for city races. Ballots have already been printed in preparation for the two-week early voting period and will include Sheppard as a candidate, however, votes for Sheppard will not be counted, Rushin said.
Precinct cards were mailed out to city voters earlier this month also. Rushin urged city voters to review their cards and verify their polling location, which may have changed due to redistricting. Voters with questions regarding where to vote should call the voter registrar’s office at 478-445-4526.
Early voting runs 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday in Room 104 of the Baldwin County Courthouse. The ballot includes candidates for mayor, City Council and the Georgia Military College Board of Trustees.
City Council candidates include: District 1 - Dr. Collinda Lee (incumbent); District 2 - Jeanette Walden (incumbent); District 3 - Denese Shinholster (incumbent), challenger Phillip Smith; District 4 - Walter Reynolds; District 5 - Richard “Boo” Mullins (incumbent), challengers Pam Beer and Daniel McDonald; and District 6 - Steve Chambers (incumbent) and challenger Andrew Strickland.
Mayoral candidates include incumbent Richard Bentley and challenger John Grant Jr.
Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 5.