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Big changes possible this election cycle

Absentee voting has begun for Brookhaven’s municipal elections, and voters will have the opportunity to help shape the city’s direction over the next four years.

This year’s election has the potential to usher in big changes for the city.  The primary election is May 2. If no one gets 50 percent of the vote plus one, there will be a runoff election, which will be May 16. The general election is June 6.

Mayor Joe Cox will have a Republican primary opponent in distant cousin John Roberts Jr. Democrat David Smith will face the winner in the general election.

Ward 1 residents will have a new representative regardless of the primary’s outcome since Randy Belcher has decided to run for police chief instead of seeking re-election. The only two candidates, Dorsey Cameron and Elisa Corley Jr., are both running as Democrats.

It’s a similar story in Ward 2. Terry Bates isn’t seeking re-election and the primary will decide the winner between Democrats Vernastine Byrd, Danny “Blackfoot” Chatman and Shannon Moore.

In Ward 3, incumbent Democrat Mary Wilson will try to fend off primary opponent David Holloway. The winner will face LaMareo “Big Moe” Brown, who is running as an independent.

Ward 4 will see a new face as long-time alderwoman Shirley Estes isn’t seeking re-election.  Jason Snider and Rusty Yates are both running as Republicans.

Ward 5 alderman Fletcher Grice is the only incumbent not facing a challenger.

Ward 6 will also have new representation since David Phillips isn’t seeking re-election. Running for his seat are Republican Gene Buckles, Democrats David McCoy and Andre D. Spiller and independents Harold Rowe and Shelley Harrigill.

Incumbent alderman-at-large Karen Sullivan, a Republican, will face Troy Douglas in the primary. The winner will face Democrat Marilyn Dow-Harris in the general election.

One of the most interesting races will be for police chief. Incumbent Bobby Bell, a Democrat, will face Belcher and Kenneth Collins in the primary. The winner will face Republican Jason Gaskin in the general election.

No matter the outcome of these races, the makeup of the city’s leadership will look vastly different than it does today.