FAIRMONT - A special election is likely in February to fill the District 1 commissioner seat that was held by Gerald Boler.
Boler entered a guilty plea Thursday to a felony theft count and resigned from the Martin County Commission. His district encompasses eastern Martin County, including Truman, Granada, East Chain and the northeast section of Fairmont. Boler had served for more than 10 years.
Martin County Auditor Jim Forshee said that because more than a year is left before the seat is up for re-election, a special election is needed to fill the vacancy. If there was less than a year left, commissioners could appoint someone.
Commissioners are expected to consider Boler's resignation and the special election at their meeting Sept. 20.
"The election cannot be less than 120 days after the resignation is accepted," Forshee explained. "So that puts us at the end of January."
The process is specific. The vacancy must be advertised for two weeks after the position is available. Potential candidates can file from Oct. 11-25. If there are more than two candidates, a primary would be held on Dec. 20. The special election will be held Feb. 14.
"There needs to be eight weeks before the primary, and then eight weeks until the general election," Forshee said. "Even if there is no primary, the general election will be on Feb. 14."
The person who fills the vacancy would still have to run for re-election again in fall 2012, when the seat is regularly up for election.