City prepares for Democratic primary

Published 5:00 am Monday, May 2, 2005

With citywide incumbents returning to office after getting noopponents, ward alderman races remain as the only contests to bedecided beginning with Tuesday’s Democratic primary.

Brookhaven Election Commission Chairwoman Bonita Bullock, whohas been working with Democratic party officials overseeing theprimary, did not offer a prediction on voter turnout.

“It’s hard to say,” Bullock said. “I’m always hopeful peoplewill turn out, but you never know.”

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Bullock acknowledged a lack of citywide contests could keepvoters away. Mayor Bob Massengill, City Clerk Mike Jinks, PoliceChief Pap Henderson and Alderman at large Les Bumgarner do not haveany challengers.

Absentee voting has been light. By Saturday’s noon deadline, 18people had voted absentee in the city clerk’s office and 81mailed-out absentee ballots are due back by mail before a 5 p.m.Monday deadline.

Bullock said this election will be the first she can remember inwhich there was no contested mayor’s race in the regularelection.

“The mayor’s name will not be on the ballot because he’s runningas a Republican,” Bullock said.

Bullock said Tuesday is for the Democratic primary only.Uncontested offices include those held by Jinks, Henderson andBumgarner and 10 members of the party’s executive committee.

Residents will see ward candidates on their respective ballotsin Wards One through Three, Five and Six. There will be no partyprimary in Ward Four because there are no Democratic candidates andRepublican incumbent Alderwoman Shirley Estes is unopposed.

“The election will be decided in most of the wards Tuesdaynight,” Bullock said.

Alderman races in Wards One and Three feature only twocandidates. Ward One Alderman Dorsey Cameron faces a challenge fromElisa Corley, and Ward Three Alderwoman Mary Wilson faces opponentDonald Thadison.

Incumbent Ward Two Alderman Terry Bates has three opponents:Vernastine Byrd, Javelle C. Coleman and Sylvester Selmon.

Ward Six Alderman John E. “Buddy” Allen has two opponents: BillyG. Carson and Scott Vinson.

A runoff will be held May 17 in wards where no candidatereceives a majority of Tuesday’s vote.

The only contested race that has a Republican candidate is inWard Five. Don Godbold will face the Democratic primary winnerbetween incumbent Tom Smith and challenger D.W. Maxwell.

Polls will be open Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

There are no primary elections in Monticello, Wesson, Meadvilleor Bude because elections in those towns are nonpartisan.

The general election is scheduled for June 7.