Six so far seeking circuit clerk post

Published 9:00 pm Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Voters will select from a crowded field inNovember’s special election for circuit clerk with six candidateshaving qualified so far.

    The six include Janie Sisco, Dustin Bairfield, Mike Walley, JoshDavis, Dr. Lenard King and Paula Smith. Candidates can continue toqualify until Sept. 7 for the Nov. 6 special election that willoccur alongside the presidential and congressional elections.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

    Of the six, Bairfield, Walley and Davis ran for the circuit clerkpost in last year’s county elections. Bairfield defeated Walley inthe Republican primary.

    Davis was defeated by incumbent Terry Lynn Watkins in theDemocratic primary.

    Watkins went on to defeat Bairfield in the general election,capturing approximately 53 percent of the vote.

    King, Smith and Sisco are all running as Democrats.

    Watkins resigned from office Jan. 6, almost a week into her fifthterm as circuit clerk. The resignation was part of a plea bargainthat allowed Watkins to avoid a trial on felony embezzlementcharges.

    Deputy Clerk Sherry Jordan was appointed by the county board ofsupervisors to fill Watkins’ place until the special election.Jordan told the supervisors she does not intend to seek theoffice.

    Several of the candidates running moved up their campaign plans dueto the special election.

    “I was already planning on running again in four years,” Bairfieldsaid. “I was just as surprised as anyone else to see it come up fora special election.”

    King, former principal of Rod Paige Middle School in LawrenceCounty, said he has been pondering a run for circuit clerk about ayear, but did not make a final decision last year until after thequalifying deadline had passed.

    “I thought I would just run when the next opportunity came,” Kingsaid. “That opportunity came a little quicker than I thought itwould.”

    Smith, however, didn’t eye the office until after Watkins vacatedit.

    “I felt I’d like to give this a try,” said Smith, who has workedwith the Mississippi Highway Patrol’s driver services office 10years. “I’ve had a clerical background and worked aroundpeople.”

    Sisco resigned her post as District Four election commissioner inJanuary, pointing to the vacant office as an opportunity she wantedto pursue.

    The candidates all highlighted their administrative, legal andpublic service backgrounds.

    “I felt like with my background in business I would provide thepeople with a good candidate,” said Davis, who has owned andoperated his own business about 14 years.

    Bairfield said his experience with the Lincoln County Sheriff’sDepartment gives him knowledge of the courts that would be apositive asset were he to win the office.

    Sisco believes her experience as election commissioner wouldposition her well to handle the election side of the circuitclerk’s duties.

    King said his experience handling budgets as a school principal andhis doctorate in school administration have prepared him with theneeded skills to take up the office.

    The candidates who ran last year all pledged to meet any countyresidents they did not meet last year.

    “I’m going to get out and do a little more politicking than I didlast year, try to talk to more people,” Walley said.

    There will be no party primaries prior to the Nov. 6 election.

    All candidates will appear on one ballot regardless of partyaffiliation. Should one candidates fail to reach the 50 percentplus one vote threshold for victory, a runoff will be held on Nov.27.