The closing hours of the 2014 candidate filing period for proved to be a wild wide for local and state office filings, as two current Gaines County incumbents withdrew from their respective election bids, while three local candidates filed election intentions for two offices up for grabs beginning with the March 2014 party primaries.
On Monday morning, Gaines County Commissioners and Gaines County Judge Lance Celander received a letter from B.W. Baucum, Pct. 2 Justice of the Peace for Gaines County, which stated the veteran magistrate was withdrawing from the March 2014 Republican Party primary election, citing "medical reasons."
"I was looking forward to the upcoming election," said Baucum.
"After much prayer and visiting with my immediate family, I have decided not to seek the upcoming re-election as Justice of the Peace for Pct. 2, due to health reasons."
Baucum, in his letter to Commissioners, stated he intends to remain in office as the Pct. 2 Justice of the Peace for the remainder of his term, which expires on Dec. 31, 2014.
A short time later, Celander issued a text message to the Seminole Sentinel stating he, too, would be withdrawing from the upcoming March 2014 GOP Primaries.
Celander, who is currently in his first term as Gaines County Judge, announced back in November he would be seeking a second term in office.
"I just called and announced to (the) Republican Party Chair that I am withdrawing from the election," said Celander, in a text message sent to the Sentinel, received at 12:17 p.m. Monday.
"I am going to pursue other interests," said Celander in his explanation.
Celander stated to the Sentinel that he intends to serve out the remainder of his term at Gaines County Judge, which will end on Dec. 31, 2014.
With Celander's withdrawal, the Gaines County Judge's race now reverts to a two-person race
On Monday morning, Gaines GOP officials confirmed with the Sentinel that Gaines County resident Ricky Baccus would be seeking election to the Pct. 4 Commissioners seat, currently held by incumbent Biz Houston.
Baccus, as of presstime Tuesday, had not announced his election intentions with the Seminole Sentinel.
Houston, 54, was appointed in September 2011 to the Pct. 4 Commissioners seat upon the retirement of former long-time Commissioner, Charlie Lopez.
Houston, in the 2012 election process, was successfully elected to the Pct. 4 seat for an unexpired term, to fill out the vacancy left behind from Lopez's departure.
The race for the Pct. 2 Justice of the Peace's seat, on Monday, went from a three man race early Monday -- with the filing of Seagraves resident Henry Winsor with the GOP -- to a two person race between Winsor and fellow Seagraves resident Calvin Sellers following Baucum's withdrawal, back to a three person race.
On Monday afternoon, Seagraves resident Eddie Pillow filed with the Gaines GOP to seek election to the Pct. 2 Justice of the Peace seat. Pilliow confirmed his filing with the Seminole Sentinel on Monday afternoon, but had not issued a press release on his announcement to the newspaper publication as of press time Tuesday.
In addition, Winsor had also made no formal announcement with the Seminole Sentinel in regard to his prospective run for the Pct. 2 Justice of the Peace position.
Sellers, a long time resident of Gaines County, announced his intentions in late November.
According to his announcement, Sellers has spent the past 12 years as as maintenance director for the Seagraves Housing Authority. He also owns and operates Sellers Construction Co., founded in 1978.
Incumbents Unopposed in 2014
At the close of the 2014 candidate filing period on Monday, six local office holders drew no opponents and will be unopposed in the upcoming March GOP primaries, according to tabulations by the Seminole Sentinel.
Those office holders/offices include: Craig Belt, Pct. 2 Commissioner; Michael Lord, Gaines County Treasurer; Vicki Phillips, Gaines County Clerk; Sharon Taylor, 106th District Clerk; Tammy Clark, Justice of the Peace, Pct. 1, and; the Hon. Carter T. Schildknecht, 106th District Judge.
No Democrats Locally
According to sources, no local races will be featured on the Gaines County Democratic ticket this March.
Gaines County Elections Coordinator Patricia Roberson stated Tuesday morning that she had not heard of any local Democratic filings for the March 2014 party primary elections.
Gaines County Democratic Chairman, Ray Savage, said in a Friday morning interview with the Seminole Sentinel no local candidates had come forth to file intentions.
A Sentinel call to Savage on Tuesday morning was unreturned as of press time. The Sentinel also attempted to make contact with Gaines County GOP Chairman Edward Reimer, but also was unable to successfully speak to him as of press time.