Deadline nears for qualifying in elections

Published 6:00 am Thursday, March 1, 2007

Thursday’s 5 p.m. qualifying deadline for all county offices maypass without a candidate for county surveyor.

Lincoln County Circuit Clerk Terry Lynn Watkins said the officewill become vacant without a qualified candidate.

“We just won’t have an official county surveyor,” she said.

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The office vacancy would not trigger a special election, thecircuit clerk said.

Although rare, it is not unheard of for a political office toremain vacant, Watkins said. In fact, the Lincoln County surveyor’soffice was vacant during much of the 1990s. It was only filledeight years ago when incumbent Joe Byrd qualified for theoffice.

Byrd has been unopposed for two terms. He did not return callsseeking comment on his plans.

It’s still possible Byrd intends to seek re-election, shesaid.

“I think four years ago he came in on the last day,” Watkinssaid.

The office is not a salaried position and pays only when thesurveyor conducts county business.

A sheriff candidate and constable candidate qualified earlierthis week to boost the number of aspirants to 47 for the 16 countyoffices. In addition, seven candidates are campaigning for fourregional offices.

Nearly all county and state offices are included in the 2007elections.

James “Mondo” Williams became the first Independent to filepapers for sheriff. In the November general election, he will facethe winner of the Aug. 7 Democratic primary and Terry Harper, whois the only sheriff’s candidate to qualify as a Republican.

Candidates in the Democratic primary include Steve Rushing, theincumbent; Robert Berry, Lynn Boyte, B.W. Pitts and Gene “Bub”Simmons Jr.

The large field of candidates for sheriff is not unexpected,Watkins said.

“We don’t really have a lot more running this time. There wasclose to seven candidates in the last election,” she said.

David Roberson also qualified earlier this week. He willchallenge incumbent Post Two Constable Lavon Boyd and rival MikeMilholen. All are Democrats.

Four candidates, all Democrats, remain unopposed – Watkins,District One Supervisor the Rev. Jerry Wilson, Coroner ClayMcMorris and Lincoln County School District Superintendent TerryBrister.

With one day left to qualify, however, Watkins said morecandidates may emerge.

“We usually have several people come in on the last day,” shesaid.

In many cases, it is not political strategy prompting the delaybut life demands, she said. Some candidates may have to resign fromtheir jobs to campaign for the office and want to hold onto themfor as long as possible.

A growing number of Republican and Independent candidates hasbegun to surface in past weeks. However, all of the candidates whopicked up papers to qualify as an Independent, which requires avaried number of signatures depending on the office, have beenreturned.

The vast majority of candidates have qualified with the DemocratParty.

Other candidates for office include:

* Supervisor District Two: Incumbent Bobby J. Watts, Ellis DaveChatmon and Jerry E. Nix.

* Supervisor District Three: Incumbent Nolan Earl Williamson,Marley B. Bowman and Russell L. Laird.

* Supervisor District Four: Incumbent Doug Moak, Eddie Brown,Charles Davis, Jeff Fauver and Independent Earl H. Brown.

* Supervisor District Five: Incumbent Gary Walker and RepublicanDonald R. Golmon.

* Chancery Clerk: Democrats Tillmon Bishop, the incumbent, andMaxine McCoy Jones.

* Tax Assessor/Collector: Incumbent Nancy Jordan and RitaWilkinson Goss.

* Justice Court Judge Post One: Ralph Boone, Carol Brewer, FrankLeggett, Art Likens, Valerie Shelby-Sterling and Trisha JordanWeeks.

* Justice Court Judge Post Two: Ricky Beavers, Carl Brown,Andrew Graham, Chris King, Ann Reeves and Republican FreddieCanon.

* Constable Post One: Incumbent Charles Ralph Smith, Clint A.Earls, Kelly Porter and Don Smith.

There was no change in multi-candidate races early thisweek.

Incumbent District 92 Rep. Dr. Jim Barnett is not seekingre-election.

Two Republicans, Paul Barnett and Becky Currie, and a Democrat,D.W. Maxwell, have filed papers to fill the vacancy. All threecandidates are from Brookhaven.

Incumbents District 39 Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, D-Brookhaven, andDistrict 53 Rep. Bobby Moak, D-Bogue Chitto, are unopposed.

Incumbent Dewitt “Dee” Bates, district attorney for the 14thJudicial District, will face challenger Nelson Estess for thatpost. Both are Democrats from Pike County.