Ready to serve region

THEY say when it rains it pours - and that has been the case this week for the looming election, with three more potential candidates putting up their hands.

Southern Downs residents will head to the polls on March 31 to elect their team of eight councillors and a mayor.

Fourth-generation Warwick man John Wode has come forward after thinking about it for some years.

Mother of three, Allora's Julie-ann Kawano, is the first new potential candidate hailing from the Best Little Town on the Downs.

Warwick's Wilf Sim - an account manager at Southern Cross Austereo has thrown his hat into the ring as well.

Newcomer Glenn Henry, from Warwick, announced his intentions before Christmas.

All has remained quiet in the southern region, with Mary Rofe the only potential Stanthorpe candidate announcing her intentions - making her presence known through letters to the editor and a strong online presence on local media website comment boards.

The top job, being vacated by Mayor Ron Bellingham, who will hang up his hat when the election rolls around, so far would only be contested by Warwick's Kim Olsen and Gina Doulis and current deputy Mayor Peter Blundell.

Of the current councillors, Vic Pennisi was the first off the blocks to confirm he would run, with Denise Ingram, Ross Bartley, Neil Meiklejohn, Jo McNally and Cameron Gow all following suit.

Cr Mally McMurtrie said she remained undecided.

Splitting the vote seemed to remain a concern for the smaller townships, with the majority of voters in Warwick, although there had been murmurs of one potential candidate jumping ship and putting their hand up for the top job instead.

But with the official nomination period still some time off, anything could happen.

A spokesman for the Queensland Electoral Commission said the formal campaign period would probably start around mid February - leaving time for more people from to put their hands up.

Rumours about the Electoral Commission investigating complaints against one of the potential candidates were dismissed by the spokesman who said not only did they not comment on individual cases, but candidates could not be held to campaign regulations before the official period started.

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