Richardson petitions to seek school board seat, is rejected

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 10, 2000

A Monday review affirmed that Vicksburg Warren School District trustee Zelmarine Murphy will be unopposed for a new term.

Election Commission Chairman Lena Corbin said signatures on the petition of Jeff Richardson fell 17 voters short of the 150 registered voters in the district needed to qualify for the school board seat.

“Mr. Richardson does not have enough signatures from within his district to qualify,” Corbin said.

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Richardson, landscape architect for the City of Vicksburg since 1994, filed Thursday to challenge incumbent Murphy, who is serving as chairman this year of the five-member school board.

For other races, petitions need as few as 50 signatures but for the school board, the number is 150 electors from the district. School board districts are the same as those for the Warren County Board of Supervisors.

The commission informed Richardson Friday afternoon of the problem and met with him Monday to review the application. Although the petition contained enough names, too few were registered in the district, Corbin said.

The deadline to file for any school board position in Warren County is 30 days before the general election. That date would have been Saturday, but because the Warren County Circuit Clerk’s Office was closed on that day, the deadline was pushed to Friday.

Richardson, who works for the city, would not comment about the race while at work because of a city policy.

Terms on the school board, created in 1987 when formerly separate city and county districts were combined, were staggered to overcome the possibility of an all-new board. Murphy’s seat will be the only contest on the Nov. 7 ballot. In 1998 voting, two incumbents were turned out.

Richardson is the second potential candidate to come up short in seeking a ballot listing in the upcoming election. Johnny Brewer, a hopeful in the District 1 Election Commission race, was rejected as a candidate by Warren County supervisors.

Brewer has filed an appeal to the Warren County Circuit Court, where a judge will decide if his petition to be a candidate was filed in a timely manner.

All five election commission seats will be on Nov. 7 ballots. Corbin, in District 1, and District 2 incumbent Retha Summers have no opponents.

In the District 4 race, incumbent James E. McMullin will face Bobbie Williamson. In District 3, incumbent LaShondra Williams will run against Nancy Clingan, former chairman of Vicksburg’s Civil Service Commission. In District 5, incumbent Gordon “Motor” Carr is challenged by Karoline Finch.

The election commission is responsible for assigning voters to precincts based on district lines, preparing ballots, training poll workers and conducting general elections.

Other races on the Warren County ballot will include the presidential race, a U.S. Senate seat and U.S. representative’s slot.

After an unsuccessful bid for the office of lieutenant governor last year, Democrat Troy Brown Sr., is looking to upset Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, a Republican from the Gulf Coast who is running for a third six-year term. Other hopefuls in that race are Libertarian Lewis Napper, Reform Party candidate Shawn O’Hara and independent Jim Giles.

In the District 2 U.S. House race, Rep. Bennie Thompson, a Democrat, will face Republican nominee Hardy Caraway, Libertarian William Chipman and Reform Party candidate Lee Dilworth. Thompson has been the representative of Warren and 21 other counties for eight years.

Warren County Circuit Court Judge Frank Vollor will seek to unseat one-term incumbent Jim Smith, 57, for the Mississippi Supreme Court District 1, Position 3 spot.

On the Mississippi Court of Appeals, incumbent Leslie King will be unopposed in his bid for his second six-year term in District 2, Position 2.

In local races, five candidates are vying to fill the vacant coroner’s position in a special election. The names of Ronald C. Regan, Allen Maxwell, Mark Morgan, Wanda Shay Clark Odom and John A. Thomason III will appear on the special election ballot.

The winner of that race will serve the remaining three years on the term of L.W. “Bump” Callaway. Callaway was appointed director of the county’s Emergency Management Agency in August.