Rawlings casts for mayoral votes at fish fry on old stomping grounds

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 12, 2001

Mayoral candidate Eric Rawlings talks with his aunt, Evelyn Phillips, at his campaign rally Saturday at the Kings baseball field. (The Vicksburg Post/MELANIE DUNCAN)

[03/12/01] Mayoral candidate Eric Rawlings returned to his old stomping grounds in the Kings community Saturday afternoon to garner support for his campaign.

“I can remember playing football and riding bikes here,” Rawlings said. “This place means a lot to me.”

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About 225 people turned out at the Kings baseball field for what Rawlings, 38, billed a campaign rally and fish fry.

“It turned out real good,” he said. “I don’t want to be the mayor for just one group but the mayor for Vicksburg.”

Rawlings said if he captures the $56,531-year-post he hopes to come up with a plan for improving the Kings area.

Standing on the baseball field on Hutson Street, Rawlings mused, “It looks the same around here as when I was 8 … I have not forgotten the people here.”

Facing Rawlings in the May 1 primary elections is incumbent Robert Walker, 56, who has served two, four-year terms as mayor and is seeking a third. Walker filed as a Democrat.

The winner of that race will go on to face Laurence Leyens and two independents, Joe Loviza, 61, and Eva Marie Ford 63, in the June 5 general election. Loviza defeated Walker’s re-election attempt in 1993, but lost to Walker four years later.

In other city races on May 1, voters will cast ballots in a Democratic primary in the North Ward and a Democratic and Republican primary in the South Ward.

In the North Ward alderman’s race, incumbent Gertrude Young, 45, is being challenged by business owner Rodney E. Dillamar, 41, and retired educator Jo Pratt, 67, in the primary election.

The winner will advance to face Sylvester Walker, 40, in the general election for the $45,491-a-year city post.

In the South Ward alderman’s race, incumbent Sam Habeeb is not seeking a second term. Looking to take his place in the Republican primary are Sidney H. Beauman Jr., 52, director of the city’s parks and recreation department, and restaurant manager Sam Smith, 37.

Facing off in the Democratic primary will be Pam Johnson, 35, owner of a local hair salon; and Carl Marshall Upton, 41, a self-employed electrician. Former Warren County District 5 Supervisor Royce Eaves, 69, announced Friday that he was dropping out of the race.

The winners in the primary elections will move forward to the general election where they will face independent candidates Ashlea Mosley, 18, and Vickie Bailey, 33, assistant director of the city’s Department of Youth Services.