Party primaries Tuesday in ’09 city elections

Published 5:00 am Monday, May 4, 2009

Brookhaven voters will head to the polls Tuesday to make theirfirst choices in the 2009 city election.

Election officials say they expect a good turnout for Tuesday’sparty primaries, in part because many races are hotly contested,but also because it seems there is a different perspective onvoting this year.

“I think the citizens will come out. I think that a lot of them,especially the younger generation since the presidential election,understand and realize the importance of voting,” said Brookhaven’sDemocratic Party Chairwoman Beverly Howard. “Now people say I’mgoing to vote, I’m going to make my opinion heard.”

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Republican Temporary Municipal Chairman Dennis Valentine said hehopes more voters do feel the urge to weigh in for whateverreason.

“This is the first election we’ve had since the nationalelection in November, so we’ll see if that holds true,” hesaid.

It’s a good year for a betting man to vote, with every racecontested except those of city clerk and police chief. Current CityClerk Mike Jinks and Police Chief Pap Henderson will continue theirduties uninterrupted.

The mayoral Democratic primary pits Lincoln County Board ofSupervisors President the Rev. Jerry Wilson against Brookhavenpolice officer Sudie Palomarez.

“I think we’re going to get a good turnout there, just listeningto people talk,” said Howard. “Just listening to people talk, ifpeople do what they say they’re going to do, I think that will be agood race.”

The winner of the mayoral primary will face Independent LesBumgarner, Brookhaven’s current alderman at large, in the June 2general election.

The alderman at large race will consist of the first citywideRepublican primary in memory between Karen Sullivan and TerryPappas, while Democrats L. Ralph Smith and Ronnie Bass will squareoff in the Democratic primary. Primary winners will meet inJune.

Wards One, Two and Three will be decided in the primary, asthere are no Republican candidates in any of the wards. Wards Twoand Three both have multiple candidates running on the Democraticticket, which could make for interesting races, Howard said.

“It’s going to be exciting in a couple of wards, Two and Threeespecially, all those candidates are really good people and coulddo a really good job,” she said, adding that there could be arunoff – on May 19 if needed – in any of those elections.

Incumbent Terry Bates, who is seeking his sixth term in WardTwo, will face fellow Democrats Vernastine Byrd, Darryl White andIdella Sanders in the primary. Voters should report to theAlexander Junior High School auditorium to cast their ballots inWard Two on Tuesday.

Ward Three will be decided in the primary as well. Democraticincumbent Alderwoman Mary Wilson takes on Roosevelt Collins andBrian Moore. The city board room at the Lincoln County-BrookhavenGovernment Complex will be the voting venue for Ward Three.

Ward One Alderman Dorsey Cameron, who is seeking his fourthterm, is challenged by Elisa Corley Jr. Voting for Ward One will beheld in the administration building of Cloverdale Acres.

Traditionally Republican Ward Four will see the first Republicanprimary faceoff in years between incumbent Alderwoman Shirley Estesand challenger Asem Zeini. Valentine said that while he cannotspeculate on the outcome of any of the elections on the GOP ticket,it is extremely important for voters to come out to the polls.

“People need to exercise their right to vote, so I’d encouragethem to come to the polls and vote regardless of which partythey’re voting in,” he said.

The winner of the Ward Four primary will face Independent DavidSmith in June. Ballots for the Ward Four elections will be cast atthe Brookhaven Elementary School auditorium.

While voters in Ward Five should report to the BrookhavenRecreation Department and Ward Six voters to Mamie MartinElementary School to vote in citywide elections, those two wardswill not see a primary this year.

Incumbent Ward Five Democratic Alderman D.W. Maxwell will be upagainst Republican Fletcher Grice in the general election on June2. In Ward Six, voters will choose between incumbent IndependentWard Six Alderman David Phillips and Democrat Robert Kenny inJune.

Under Mississippi’s system, voters must decide whether toparticipate in the Democratic primary or in the Republican primary.Voters will not be allowed to cast ballots in both.

There are contested Democratic primary races for the party’snomination for mayor, alderman at large and several ward aldermanposts. The only contested races on the Republican ballot are forthe party’s nomination for citywide alderman at large and in theWard Four alderman race.

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

Jinks said the absentee ballots will be counted along with theregular ballots and a total should be reached Tuesday night. Theaffidavit ballots are traditionally counted the next day and theresults should be certified sometime Wednesday, he said.

Deputy Clerk Marsha Fairman said about 135 absentee ballots hadbeen requested.