DAWSON, GA (WALB) - Taxpayers in Dawson will foot the bill for a second election if their mayor is re-elected, then convicted on child molestation charges.
Mayor Christopher Wright qualified to run for a third term.
He was indicted on multiple charges after a February child molestation trial during which the victim told jurors Wright raped her when she was 11 or 12 years old.
His trial has been postponed and is expected to happen in early spring, perhaps sooner.
As he readies for trial, Wright is running for re-election against Dawson's former long-serving mayor, Robert Albritten.
City Attorney Tommy Coleman said if Wright is convicted, then he will be removed from office automatically, unless he appeals.
"Well, he would be removed from office at that point. You are ineligible to hold public office if you are a convicted felon. There is some period where you could appeal and during that period he would not be removed," said Coleman.
Appeals could take a long time.
Governor Nathan Deal has Wright's indictment and is supposed to call a Special Tribunal to consider suspending Wright.
If he's removed, it would only be until the end of his current term, which expires December 31st.
"If the vacancy occurs more than six months from the end of the term then you have to have a special election. On the other hand, if it's less than that, then they could appoint someone for the remainder of the term," explained Coleman.
If Wright is re-elected, he would start his third term, despite any possible removal from office, on January 1st, 2017.
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