County Mayor

• Jeremy D. Bivens, D

• Jim Welch, D

• Jerry W. Beavers, R

• Bill James, R

Circuit Court Clerk

• Carolyn Mullins, R

• Darrell Davis, R

County Trustee

• Helen A. Aikman, R

• Joyce A. Judd, R

County Commissioner District 1

• Billy Ogle, R

• Dewayne Murphy, R

• Phillip D. Grubb, R

County Commissioner District 2

• Gary Runyon, D

• Willis D. Boles, D

• Donna L. Nelson, R

• Jeff Thornton, R

• Lisa Ann Thompson, R

• Michael W. Long, R

County Commissioner District 3

• John David Bates, D

• Stanley Welch, D

• Chris Finnell, R

• Danny C. Fowler, R

• Jerry Harris, R

• Robert J. Maines, R

County Commissioner District 4

• Carter E. Nelson, R

• Doug O'Daniel, R

• Rick L. Vaughn, R

County Commissioner District 5

• Adam D. Brady, R

• Ronda M. Tucker, R

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is one in a series of stories on contested races in area county primary elections.

Meigs County Mayor Garland Lankford, a Republican, will not be running for re-election in 2014, leaving his seat open to one of four candidates vying for the county's top office.

And, depending on how each party's primary goes, the general election could come down to a competition between a Meigs County native with family ties to local politics and his former high school American government teacher.

Jeremy Bivens, who manages a real estate and construction company and has run a couple of restaurants, is running in the Democrat primary against Jim Welch, a county commissioner for Meigs Third District who was appointed in January to fill the seat vacated as a result of the death of Pete Jennings.

Bill James, who taught American government, economics and business law at Meigs County High School for 33 years, is running against Jerry W. Beavers in the Republican primary.

Beavers and Welch couldn't be reached for comment.

Bivens, a graduate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham whose family ties to local politics include his uncle, Ricky Bivens, who was Meigs County trustee for 16 years, said he wants to bring more jobs, industry and money into the county, something that he feels his relative youth will give him an advantage in doing.

"I'm new to politics, but I'm willing to listen and learn as we go," Bivens said. "I have made some contacts to hopefully get the county growing in the right direction. I think the foundation has been laid for the last few years. I just think we've got to keep going forward."

However, while Bivens said he'll be looking to bring fresh ideas to county government, he said he's also willing to listen to "the elder statesmen of the county" and take their knowledge into consideration.

James, a Tennessee Tech graduate with a bachelor's degree in business management and a master's degree in administration and supervision, said that with his background in teaching government and economics, and his long time living in the county, he felt like he owed something to the county and wanted to take a shot at leading it.

"Being an ex-teacher, I hate to see students that have to leave our county to find jobs, and our present mayor has really focused on that, and I promised that if I get in there, I would continue that," James said.

Additionally, James, whose experience includes eight years as a Decatur alderman and five years as Decatur's mayor, said he felt the county's tax base needed to remain where it is, and the county government should "strive for other means of getting revenue."

Early voting is April 16 through May 1, and the day of the primary is May 6.

The voter registration deadline in April 7, and the deadline to request an absentee ballot is April 29.

Other contested primary races in the county include Circuit Court clerk, county trustee and County Commission Districts 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5.

Contact staff writer Alex Harris at or 423-757-6592.