District 39 State Representative Jeffrey C. Smith, who will be completing 20 years and five terms in his seat at the end of this year, will seek a sixth term, possibly as an independent. Smith, if re-elected, also intends to seek the House Speaker position he narrowly lost to Billy McCoy after the last election.
Smith has always been a Democrat. He promised his late father that he’d remain a Democrat while his dad was still alive – and he did! Smith has yet to qualify in Jackson because district lines are being redrawn, which occurs every ten years right after the census is completed. Mississippi state Legislators have until June 1st to qualify for this years election because of redistricting.
Many candidates, locally and nationally, are tired of the party bickering and political rhetoric being doled out by both major parties, Republican and Democrat, which is more so on a national basis but often trickles down to local races. And Smith didn’t receive much help from other area Democrats in the past, in particular District 41 State Representative Esther Harrison, whose vote for McCoy as House Speaker in 08′ all but killed the chances of Smith being elected to the powerful speaker’s post. He was one vote shy.
Caldwell And Tagert To Runoff For Northern District Transportation Commissioner:
It appears that John Caldwell and Mike Tagert have emerged as the top two vote-getters in a field of seven to runoff as the next Northern Transportation Commissioner on February 1st. Heavy snow and ice in counties on roadways north of the Highway 82 corridor might just be the ingredient missing in the past to elect a commissioner from the local area. Roads in Lowndes, Clay and Oktibbeha counties were relatively free of ice and slick conditions on Tuesday, enabling more voters to go to the polls while voters from counties farther north were virtually paralized. As an example: 5% voter turnout in Lee County, a county that usually has a huge turnout, helped give Lowndes, Clay and Oktibbeha counties an edge. Historically our area has been shut out from having a serious candidate for the commissioners seat, but road conditions this go-round might have changed those results. Tagert is from Starkville and serves as president of the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway Development Council. Caldwell, though from Nesbit and Desoto County schools transportation director, has always campaigned heavily locally and is seen as an ally of local political leaders, something this area has never seen before in the past as far as transportation commissioners go.
Conventional wisdom would reveal the potential, from either of these two candidates, to have a real commissioner with local ties.
As of Wednesday afternoon, you can add two more candidates to the list of local qualifiers seeking office in Lowndes County during this years election. Anthony Sanders filled out qualifying papers to challenge District 4 Supervisor Jeff Smith for his seat. Sanders address is listed as 1310 6th Street South in Columbus. Sanders will run as a Democrat. Sam Allison has filled out qualifying papers to run for Lowndes Superintendent of Education as a Republican. Allison is Principal at New Hope Middle School. Allison joins challenger Cliff Reynolds, who is Principal at West Lowndes. Reynolds will run as a Democrat. Current Superintendent Mike Halford has indicated he might not seek re-election to the post. Potential candidates will have until March 1st to qualify for local office. Republican and Democrat party primaries will be held on Tuesday, August 2nd. The general election is slated for Tuesday, November 8th.
County Prosecutor Tim Hudson:
Last week I told you that longtime Lowndes County Prosecutor Tim Hudson would not seek re-election to his position. Hudson was first elected prosecutor in 1987, taking office in early 88′ and serving till present. At the end of this year, Hudson will have served 24 years or 6 terms in the position. The ‘open’ office will have two candidates so far. Former Mississippi Supreme Court Justice Chuck Easley has qualified as a Democrat. And political newcomer Shane Tompkins has qualified as a Republican.
District 5 Supervisor Leroy Brooks: Will He Receive A Challenge From Roger Larsen?
Brooks has been supervisor of District 5 since 1984. In a Commercial Dispatch article from last week, reporter Jason Browne wrote that Brooks was “accustom to running unopposed” in elections in the past, but that is inaccurate. To my knowledge, Brooks has had opponents in every election he’s been involved in since first being elected. Barbara Brandon, Bill Boddie, Charlie Smith, Ronald Ryland, Mickey Fromm and Kyle Conner are many of his past opponents. Conner came within a handful of votes of actually defeating Brooks. Browne also quoted Brooks as saying he wanted “one more term”, which has been used in political circles for many years to ward off potential opponents in hopes of making them think if they wait till next time, the incumbent won’t run again.
But this might be Brooks’ most challenging political race in his long career. He already faces a challenge from Kenneth McFarland, who has qualified to run against Brooks as a Democrat and will face him head-up in the Democrat primary on August 2nd. If he survives that, he might face a challenge from an independent candidate, yet to qualify – but is seriously considering a run. Former Packet Editor Roger Larsen is considering a run for the District 5 seat. I spoke with Larsen Wednesday and he said he “hasn’t ruled it out”. Over the past several weeks, Larsen has received much encouragement to consider a challenge of Brooks.
Think about it – just how fun would that race be?
Arledge For Sheriff?
Lowndes County Justice Court Judge Mike Arledge is getting closer to qualifying as a candidate for sheriff. Arledge just recently received some relief from having to worry so much about the condition of his daughter, Kim, who had a life-saving heart transplant back on November 12th in Birmingham, Al. Arledge wants to finish up some cases at justice court before qualifying because, for the third time since 1999, he’ll have to give up his job to run for political office.
Arledge was a well-respected longtime highway patrolman in 1999 when he decided to run for Lowndes County sheriff. He was forced to take early retirement to run for the post. Arledge, a poltical newcomer at the time, came within several hundred votes of beating eventual winner Butch Howard that year. Trying to support his family after spending thousands of dollars in the campaign, Arledge rejoined the Mississippi Highway Patrol for a brief period. He had to retire, yet again, when he ran for the District 2 Justice Court judge seat in 2003, winning that race and being re-elected in 2007. He’ll once again have to give up his job, as soon as he qualifies, to run for sheriff.
With over 31 years of law enforcement experience to his credit, Arledge is expected to make an official announcement in early February.
In Other Races:
Nancy Adams Collins, a registered nurse from Tupelo, has won the District 6 State Senate seat representing Lee and Pontotoc counties. Collins beat 4 other candidates impressively on the first ballot by receiving approx. 50.9 % of the vote. A special election was held Tuesday to fill the remaining term of Alan Nunnelee, who was elected U.S. Congressman.
Forrest Allgood To Qualify For Another Run As DA.
Steve Wallace to Challenge Allgood
I spoke with longtime District Attorney Forrest Allgood Wednesday evening. Though he has yet to qualify for another run for his position (candidates for this office must file in Jackson), he relayed his intent to do so. “Yes, i’m running” said Allgood without hesitation. He’ll face a challenge from local attorney Steve Wallace. The candidates for District Attorney must run in the four county 16th Circuit Court District of Mississippi which includes the counties of Lowndes, Noxubee, Clay and Oktibbeha counties. Allgood and Wallace will both run as Democrats.
Ron Williams can be reached by email at Ronsings2you@aol.com.0