Large fields for area county posts

Published 6:00 am Monday, March 3, 2003

MONTICELLO — The course has been laid for area electoralcandidates with 58 qualifying in Lawrence County, 55 in CopiahCounty and 33 in Franklin County before Saturday’s 5 p.m.deadline.

In Lawrence County, some incumbents will have clear sailing asthey coast into another term.

Incumbent Democrats Circuit Clerk Cindy Stokes, Chancery ClerkKevin Rayborn, Justice Court Judge Post 2 Donald G. “Donnie”Mullins, County Attorney Damond Ready, Constable Post 1 Lessie J.Butler and County Surveyor Monty E. Sanders are all unopposed.Incumbent Republican District Attorney Claiborne “Buddy” McDonaldis also unopposed.

In three races, the incumbents are breathing a sigh of relief.District 5 Supervisor Calvin Fortenberry, Superintendent ofEducation John Bull and Coroner Dr. Joe Ward have decided not torun for reelection and are watching the campaigns to replace themfrom the sidelines.

The biggest race in the election in terms of candidates is forFortenberry’s vacant seat. Eight candidates have qualified for thatpost, including Democrats Mitchell Barnes, Elijah Barnes Jr. ,James E. “Bo” Benson, Jimmy D. Speights and Coach Archie C. Ross.The person who emerges the victor from that Democratic primarybattle Aug. 5 will face Republican William Charlie Barton andIndependents Samuel Slay Jr. and Jerry W. Goode for the post in thegeneral election Nov. 4.

Four candidates have qualified to vy for Bull’s vacant office,all Democrats. Candidates for that office are Tarvey M. Ward,Angela Calcote, Tommy L. Carney and Russell Caudill.

Former coroner Sidney Fortenberry, a Democrat, is favored toreplace Ward, but faces strong opposition from fellow DemocratsRonnie Thames and Patricia “Pat” Peyton.

Other incumbents must brave the rough waters of anothercampaign.

Except for one lone Republican, Democrats have filled the ranksof supervisor hopefuls.

In District 1, incumbent Carey Hedgepeth will face Steve Garrettand Mike L. Ballard.

Billy Joe Boutwell, the District 2 incumbent, will also face twoopponents with the qualifying of Ira V. Davis Jr. and CurtisAlexander.

District 3 Supervisor Calvin Rutland, vying for his second term,must beat down the challenges of Willie T. Coon, Wilmer WilliamFuller and Tab Conn to repeat.

Incumbent District 4 Supervisor Glenn Grubbs is the onlysupervisor who may have to wait until November to know if he wonthe election. He faces Stanley L. Stephens and Marcus Feazell inthe Democratic primary. The primary victor will face RepublicanDaryl Cody in November.

Incumbent Sheriff Joel Thames will have to fend off fivechallengers in the Democratic primary to win a second term. Hisopponents include Hoyt Dampier, Constable Post 2 David Tullos,Ellis D. Howell Jr., former sheriff William E. Mullins and SheltonSmith.

Tullos left the race for Constable Post 2 wide open when hechose to run for sheriff and six Democrats have stepped forward toclaim it. Candidates for his vacant post include Tommy Barnett,Tony R. Lambert, Claude H. Wallace, Tony Norwood, Claude Davis andTommy Kirkland.

The race for Justice Court Judge Post 1 also promises to beheated as a field of four Democrats, one Republican and anIndependent have risen to challenge incumbent Democrat Robert C.”Bobby” Fortenberry Jr. He will face Randy Pennington, Jack Ward,Amos D. Bridges and Kathleen S. Sharp in the Democratic primary.The winner of that battle will face Republican Jimmy Hurst Bartonand Independent Alvin C. Peyton in the general election.

Incumbent Democrat Tax Assessor/Collector Jeff H. Peterson willbe running against opponents old and new in the Democratic primary.Peterson won an election last year to finish out the term ofAnnette Applewhite, who retired. He will face Donna Pippin Sandiferfor the second time. Sherry Hyde Thames is also making a bid forthe office.

The Democratic primary is Aug. 5. The general election is Nov.4.