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Estes will again seek Ward 4 post

Municipal elections are still on track, with three of the sevenincumbent aldermen having qualified to run for their seats again,according to records at the City Clerk’s Office.

Meanwhile, one candidate is awaiting confirmation on his bid forthe mayor’s office.

City Clerk Mike Jinks confirmed Friday that Ward Four’sincumbent Republican Alderwoman Shirley Estes, 67, of 504 BeckerSt., has qualified to run for her second term since taking officein October of 2004.

Estes was first elected from a field of four candidates tosucceed her husband, Don Estes, in the seat left vacant when hedied of cancer. So far, Estes is the only qualifier in the race forWard Four.

Sitting Alderman at large Les Bumgarner last week threw his hatin the ring to run for the office of mayor as an Independent. Forany candidate running as an independent in a citywide election, theCity Clerk’s Office must confirm the 50 signees on the petitionneeded to run are registered to vote within the city limits beforethe candidate is officially listed as qualified.

But this year and at this stage, it’s a little more tricky thanthat. Deputy City Clerk Marsha Fairman said the office is awaitinga new voter roll including those annexed into the city in July of2007 before Bumgarner’s petition can be fully verified.

Circuit Clerk Terry Lynn Watkins said her office handles theprocess, which consists of transferring the voter registrations ofresidents of areas that used to be in the county but have now beenbrought into the city limits. She said while her office will assistwith verifying any annexed voters from independent petitions, theprocess of transferring the names on the rolls is not completeyet.

“We’re not finished with it, they asked for a voter roll andwe’re still working on getting everybody switched over,” she said.”We’re hoping to be through by February.”

She said unfortunately when pinpointing every annexed address isa must, there isn’t an “easy” button that makes the switch runsmoothly.

“It’s a very big task, and one thing that makes it so hard isthat we have some streets where one side is one ward and the otherside is the other ward, and there are times I have to actually getin the car to drive down the streets to find the addresses,” shesaid. “It’s not a real easy fix, but we’re working on it. Feb. 1 ismy goal for having it ready.”

So far, the Rev. Jerry L. Wilson is the only other person in themayor’s race. He is running as a Democrat.

Running as an independent means Bumgarner will not participatein party primaries scheduled for May 5. He will face party primarywinners in the June 2 general election.

Meanwhile L. Ralph Smith, who served as Ward Three alderman from1965-69 and alderman at large from 1993-97, also put in qualifyingpapers to run for alderman at large again in the 2009 election.

So far Ward One Alderman Dorsey Cameron, a Democrat, will beseeking his fourth term as alderman, facing only Democraticopponent Elisa Corley Jr.

In Ward Two, Democrat Idella Sanders has qualified, and currentDemocratic Ward Two Alderman and Mayor Pro-Tempore Terry Bates hasso far been silent.

Meanwhile, Alderwoman Mary Wilson, the Rev. Wilson’s wife, hasqualified to run for re-election in Ward Three. So far she facesone opponent, Roosevelt Collins. Both Ward Three candidates havealso qualified as Democrats.

Ward Five Alderman D.W. Maxwell, a Democrat, and Ward SixAlderman David Phillips, who as yet is an independent because hewas elected in a special election, have not yet declared any intentto qualify for any office in the upcoming election. There are nochallengers in either ward yet, either.

Otherwise, Police Chief Pap Henderson and City Clerk Mike Jinksboth qualified the first day. Both are as yet unopposed.

Forms are still available for anyone interested in seeking anoffice in the upcoming election, Jinks said. The final date forqualifying is Friday, March 6.

The primary elections take place on May 5, with the generalelection falling on June 2.