By DOTTY NIST
Walton County Commissioner Bill Chapman has officially announced that he will not run for re-election in 2020.
The District 1 commissioner/current Walton County Board of County Commissioners (BCC) vice chairman made the announcement during the course of the Oct. 22 BCC regular meeting at the Walton County Courthouse.
Chapman told the gathering that he had decided not to run and wanted “to make it formal today.”
Chapman had first been elected to the BCC in 2012 and won re-election in 2016. He observed that, together with his service in the military, a 32-year law enforcement career, and his two terms on the county commission, he would have close to 44 years in public service upon leaving office.
Chapman had resigned from service with the Walton County Sheriff’s Office to make his first run for county commission in the 2012 election.
The District 1 seat, together with those for District 3 and District 5, is one of three BCC seats that will be up for re-election in 2020.
Chapman said he had made his decision after reflection and discussion with his family. He added that, with about a year remaining before the 2020 General Election, he had thought it would be a good time to make an announcement to the BCC and public.
Chapman has chaired the county commission for extended periods of time both during his first and current terms, including as recently as November 2017, with current BCC Chairman Tony Anderson being voted in as chair on Nov. 28, 2017 and Chapman as vice chairman at that time.
Chapman said he would have other comments before leaving office at the end of his term, but he went ahead and conveyed thanks to county staff. “It’s been nice working with all the staff,” he said, calling county staff “very diligent” and crediting them with being the best in the state.
“We will miss you,” said Anderson. He advised anyone wanting to talk Chapman out of his decision not to do so in the presence of Chapman’s wife and daughter. “I made that mistake,” he said.
Currently no one has prefiled to run for the Walton County District 1 seat in 2020 elections. Qualifying week for county commission candidates is from noon on June 8, 2020, until noon on June 12, 2020, and petitions to qualify as a candidate in lieu of payment of qualifying fees are due by noon on May 11, 2020.