Rome’s upcoming City Commission elections — already forecast to be the most competitive we’ve seen in years — are a little bit clearer this morning. But maybe not for long.
City Commissioner Evie McNiece had a decision to make about seeking a fourth four-year term on the board. First elected in 2007 to represent one of three seats in Ward Three, McNiece has purchased a home in the Between the Rivers District which is in Ward One. Six seats are on the Nov. 5 ballot for the city — three in Ward One and three in Ward Three.
McNiece continues to live in Ward Three but her home is on the market. No offers had been made as of Tuesday afternoon, she says. The plan is to move to downtown Rome once it sells.
The deadline for McNiece to make a move into Ward One was May 25 so she will run again, representing West Rome.
So what comes next:
- If re-elected in November, McNiece would have to resign if she moves downtown.
- Her decision to stay in Ward Three is expected to increase the likelihood of at least two newcomers entering the Ward One race, if not more.
- Incumbents in Ward One include Bill Irmscher, Milton Slack and Sundai Stevenson. As of May 13, none had announced plans to run again or retire.
- The two other incumbents in Ward Three are Mayor Bill Collins and Commissioner Craig McDaniel. Collins says he’s planning to seek a new term. McDaniel is expected to seek a second term.
- The three seats in Ward Two will be on the ballot in 2021 as will the seven members of the Rome Board of Education.
As for McNiece: A move downtown would mean she’d have to wait until the 2023 city elections to run again. There’s also the possibility of one of the two County Commission seats on the ballot in 2020. She’d be in the district currently represented by Wright Bagby who’s completing his first term on the County Commission.
Qualifying for the City Commission seats is Monday, Aug. 19, through Friday, Aug. 23, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at City Hall.
There have been some rumblings of other names who may toss their hat into the ring for City Commission but at this time no one has officially announced their candidacy.