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Leyens outspends all other candidates 4-1

[05/30/01] Independent mayoral candidate Laurence Leyens has spent $88,066 and raised $1,000 more than that, according to financial disclosure statements due from office-seekers Tuesday.

Of the 10 candidates whose names will appear on ballots for Vicksburg’s three elective posts, the next biggest spender was incumbent Mayor Robert Walker, 57, the Democratic nominee, who has spent $17,313 and raised $18,867 to seek the city’s top executive position, his report says.

The salary for the mayor’s position is $56,531 a year.

The $89,068 raised by Leyens, 37, since Jan. 1, is more than five times the amount raised and spent by any city candidate over the past 12 years.

Former mayor Joe Loviza, 61, raised $6,015 and spent $5,876, his report shows. Eva Marie Ford, 63, raised $925 and spent $1,715. Both are also independents in the four-way race on Tuesday’s ballot. The top vote-getter among them will start a four-year term on July 1.

Candidates who spend more than $200 on a campaign are required to file a series of reports with the clerk’s office, according to state law. The reports must indicate any donations or expenditures of more than $200 each.

In the North Ward race, Democratic nominee Gertrude Young, 45, raised $5,535 and spent $5,229 in her third bid for the $45,491-a-year alderman’s position. Young’s remaining opponent, independent Sylvester Walker, 40, did not turn in a report.

In the South Ward race, reports indicate that Republican nominee Sidney H. Beauman Jr., 53, spent more than twice his Democratic opponent, Pam Johnson, 35, but no reports were filed for the two independent candidates in that race.

Beauman spent $9,201 and raised $10,325 while Johnson spent $4,962 and raised $2,375. The two independents are Vickie Bailey, 33, and Ashlea Mosley, 18.

Although state law stipulates penalties for failing to file reports or filing them late, the penalties are rarely imposed. Filing false information is a felony under the law designed to let voters know who is financing which candidates.

The deadline for residents who are eligible to vote absentee is noon Saturday. Mailed absentee ballots will be accepted until Monday.

In Vicksburg, certified returns indicate that 6,229 of the city’s 17,603 eligible voters cast ballots in May 1 primaries. In 1997, poll books listed 15,991 registered voters in Vicksburg, and 8,867 ballots were cast in that year’s municipal general election.

In the general election, there are two ballots, one for the North Ward and one for the South Ward. Each ballot will have the names of all of the candidates for alderman in that ward and for mayor, regardless of party.