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Little interest seen so far in 2002 votes

Lincoln County voters this year will help decide a number ofimportant elected offices, but races so far are generating littleattention.

“I haven’t heard anything, really,” said Lincoln County CircuitClerk Terry Case Watkins about voter interest.

Watkins said she has had a few comments about qualifying for theDistrict 3 Election Commissioner post formerly held by BernardMcClelland. Supervisors appointed McClelland’s wife Floy to thepost following his death last year.

“That and the (District Attorney’s) office will be our specialelections,” Watkins said.

Voters in the 14th Circuit Court District counties of Lincoln,Pike and Walthall will be electing a district attorney after DunnLampton was named U.S. attorney by President Bush last year.Assistant District Attorney Danny Smith was appointed DA by Gov.Ronnie Musgrove until the special election can be held inNovember.

The deadline for candidates to qualify for the county’s specialelections is Friday, Sept. 3.

Voters in the three counties will also be electing circuit courtjudges this year. Judge Keith Starrett has been on the districtcourt bench since 1992 while Mike Smith is completing his secondterm as judge.

Lincoln Countians and their neighbors in Copiah County, which gotogether to make up the 15th Chancery Court District, will bechoosing a judge. Incumbent Ed Patten is in his second term.

Several posts on the state Court of Appeals are also up forre-election this year.

The deadlines for candidates to qualify for judicial electionsis Friday, May 10.

In federal races, U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran is up for re-election.The senior senator from Mississippi is seeking a fourth-term.

Citizens will also be choosing their U.S. representatives, but astate legislative redistricting stalemate has cast a cloud ofuncertainty over those races. Because its population grew moreslowly than other states, Mississippi is losing a representative’sseat and must redraw congressional lines for four officials insteadof five.

Much political speculation has put Lincoln County in a newdistrict made up of portions of areas currently represented byReps. Ronnie Shows, a Democrat, and Chip Pickering, a Republican.Where the county will wind up remains unclear, though, as theredistricting dispute continues in state and federal courts.

The deadline for candidates to qualify for federal offices isMarch 1.

The first primary for federal offices is June 4 with run-offs,where needed, on June 25.

Lincoln County will also have a county school board electionthis year. James Keene, who represents District 4-West Lincoln, isup for re-election.

The qualifying period for county school board post is fromAugust 7 through September 6. Those interested in running shouldfile a petition with signatures of 50 registered voters from thedistrict they are seeking to represent.

The date for the general election and special elections, whereneeded, is Nov. 5. The special election runoff date is Nov. 19.