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"Boss Hogg' can blame it on his son

Published Oct. 13, 2005

Voters in this small Florida Panhandle town took the advice of retiring Mayor G.E. "Gene" Clary's son and rejected his bid for election to the Town Council, and they did it in no uncertain terms. Clary, 59, who opponents dubbed "Boss Hogg" and accused of "running a one-man-show," has served as mayor for 20 years but finished last Tuesday in the seven-candidate field for the five-member council.

A family feud may have contributed to his defeat. His son, Gary Clary, 37, although not a Laurel Hill resident, campaigned for nearly every candidate except his controversial father.

"I'd just like to see him lose," the younger Clary said before the election.

"This thing goes deeper than politics, it's family," his father said.

As mayor the elder Clary had little legal authority but boasted that he had hand-picked council members in the past by endorsing them for election.

"We've got the chance to take the Louisiana politics out of Laurel Hill," Dunn said of his predecessor's ouster from local government.

Clary recently has been trying to persuade the council to fire the town's fire chief. He also has been blamed, wrongly he said, for Laurel Hill's lack of a police department for the past several years.