Gary A. Ingram was disqualified Tuesday to run against Buford City Commissioner Chris Burge in what had been the city’s lone contested race set for Nov. 7.
He was found to not be a city resident and as a convicted felon “involving moral turpitude,” according to a written decision by City Clerk Kim Wolfe in her role as the city’s election superintendent.
“His civil rights have not been restored,” she said of the conviction.
Wolfe goes on to say Ingram’s “name shall be withheld from the ballot or it shall be struck from the ballot if the ballots have been printed.”
Her decision also cites Ingram “was holding illegally … public funds.”
A lien has been filed against Ingram in Gwinnett Superior Court saying he owes $73,423, excluding interest, for child support, her 9-page decision states.
The 53-year-old truck driver said he is going to see how he can get back on the ballot.
He said he believed those who opposed his candidacy were on a “headhunters’ type of mission.”
“It’s Boss Hogg politics and they’ve … nicknamed me Buford T. Pusser,” Ingram said.
He defended himself against the lien accusation, saying, “I don’t owe the state anything. That was a civil agreement, and I’m just paying arrearage.”
As for the residency issue, “my dad did not want to give me a lease to verify my residency, so I went upon the verification of my kids being (in Buford) and we’re living at that address,” Ingram said.
Also, he acknowledged the felony conviction, saying he was sentenced as a first offender and hasn’t had the chance to remove the conviction from court records.
“I had a stroke … so basically, I forgot,” Ingram said.
Barring any kind of successful challenge, Burge is primed to return as commissioner on Jan. 1. He has been on the commission 25 years, facing no opposition in past elections.
Asked why he wanted to run for another four-year term, Burge said in an earlier interview, “I love my town,” adding that his family has been in Buford since the 1800s.
Ingram, also with longtime ties to Buford, had said he worried that a sort of “gentrification” is happening in Buford, which is in Gwinnett and Hall counties.
“We’ve got a lot of construction and subdivisions going on around here and nobody are really representing the older people of Buford,” he said. “Property values are going sky high, and the taxes are going to go up too.”