Rayborn seeks Senate seat

Published 6:48 pm Thursday, May 26, 2011

A former Lincoln County state senator is looking to reclaim thetitle.

W.L. Rayborn, who served as District 39 senator from 1980-2000,qualified Wednesday to seek the post in this year’s elections. Hewill be running in the Democratic primary.

“We need somebody who’s got some experience and somebody who candeliver,” Rayborn said.

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Rayborn, who earlier was rumored to be candidate but had notqualified until Wednesday, indicated his decision to run wasinfluenced by recent Legislature-related events. He mentioned therecent death of longtime north Mississippi Sen. Jack Gordon andWednesday’s retirement announcement by House Speaker BillyMcCoy.

Rayborn said those events would elevate Sen. Bob Dearing,D-Natchez, in seniority in the Senate and present District 53 Rep.Bobby Moak, D-Bogue Chitto, with a “great opportunity” to be thenext Speaker of the House. That could mean good things forSouthwest Mississippi.

“I want to be a part of it,” Rayborn said.

Rayborn called Brookhaven the “next crossroads of the South.” Hementioned the Interstate 55-Highway 84 intersection, the newLinbrook Business Park, good schools and other positivehappenings.

“We’ve got a lot of things going for us,” Rayborn said.

Rayborn speculated that the Toyota plant would not be in northMississippi without the influence of lawmakers like McCoy andGordon. He said he wanted to get things going for SouthwestMississippi.

“We’ve done it in the past and we can do it in the future,” Raybornsaid. “We’ve got to get jobs, jobs, jobs.”

Rayborn represented District 39, which included Lincoln andLawrence counties, for 20 years before losing to Cindy Hyde-Smithin 2000. District 39 now includes a portion of SimpsonCounty.

Hyde-Smith’s decision to seek the office of state Commissioner ofAgriculture and Commerce leaves the District 39 seat open.

In the Aug. 2 Democratic primary, Rayborn will face Brookhaven’sMichael Smith. The winner of that party’s primary will face thewinner of the Republican primary, which features Brookhaven’s BillBoerner and Sally Doty and Dave Nichols, of Monticello.

The general election is scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 8.

Other potential office-seekers have less than a week to qualifybefore the June 1 deadline for legislative elections. The deadlinefor state senator and state representative qualifying was pushedback this year due to uncertainty over legislative districtlines.