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Local candidate's status in jeopardy

Elections board to decide Spencer's residency

POSTED: July 6, 2008 5:03 a.m.
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Spencer

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A Dawson County commission candidate could be disqualified from the July 15 primary if it is determined later this week that he is not a legal resident of the county.
Thayer Spencer, a Republican who is challenging two-term incumbent candidate Julie Hughes Nix for the District 4 commission post, maintains he has lived for two years in a home he is building near War Hill.
In a strange twist, however, it appears Spencer has done so illegally and without permission from the county.
The Dawson County Board of Elections is scheduled to meet Friday morning to discuss Spencer's residency status. The matter was brought to the board's attention last week in a letter from Sherry Weeks, a neighbor of Spencer's.
Both Weeks, who could not be reached for comment earlier this week, and Spencer have homes in The Summit subdivision off Blue Ridge Overlook in eastern Dawson County.
The county has not issued a certificate of occupancy for the house that Spencer is building at 372 Summit Overlook Drive. The certificate is required before anyone can legally move into a new home.
Spencer, formerly of Roswell, concedes the house is not finished. Tax records indicate it is 85 percent complete. They also list the owner as Spencer's wife, Nancy Twyman.
"If he has no C.O., no legal address," Weeks asked in her May 23 letter, "is he considered a 'resident' of Dawson County who can run for commissioner?"
The home failed to meet occupancy requirements May 30 during a visit by Robbie Irvin, the county's code inspection officer.
Spencer cited the need for minor electrical improvements and the addition of a culvert in the driveway as reasons for failing to meet the latest C.O. requirement.
A third inspection will be conducted later this week, at which time Spencer expects to receive a certificate of occupancy. In addition, Spencer said, he does not believe he will be fined for having lived there without the certificate. "I think if they were planning to fine me, they would have already done so," Spencer said.
Regardless, the certificate will not guarantee Spencer can remain in the race for commissioner.
Dawson County Attorney Joey Homans said Spencer probably would be ineligible because he could not prove he has lived in the county for 12 months prior to qualifying for the election, as required by law.
Spencer said his attorney disagrees.
"He's researching domicile residency, which is legal residence," he said. "It's really an issue of where you rest your head at night. If I had another residence, then I'd be a little worried."
If the board rules Spencer ineligible, it will be too late to remove his name from the July 15 Republican primary ballot. The ballot will  show three names, though Nix will be the only remaining candidate.
Former Dawson County Planning Commissioner Kurt Krattinger officially withdrew from the race May 19, two weeks after qualifying, saying running against Nix was "like two people running for the same post with all the same ideas."
Homans said the elections board will determine Spencer's residency and eligibility during a special called meeting at 10:30 a.m. Friday.
The meeting, which is open to the public, will be held at the Dawson County Board of Elections and Voter Registration, 462 Memory Lane, Suite 150.
If he is determined ineligible to run, Spencer said he plans to take the fight to court.
E-mail Michele Hester at michele@dawsonnews.com.

 

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