Circuit clerk hopefuls still spending most

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 31, 2003

[7/30/03]Candidates for Warren County circuit clerk continued to outspend their counterparts in other races during July, reports filed by candidates in Tuesday’s primaries showed.

An additional $10,352 was reportedly spent during the first 26 days of the month by the three candidates in Tuesday’s Democratic primary alone.

State-required campaign-finance reports were due Tuesday for candidates in the primaries.

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Shelly Ashley-Palmertree, 34, retained the lead in spending, adding $6,334 to bring her total for the campaign to $19,111. Jack Grogan, 51, spent $3,162, bringing his total to $11,795. And Gil Culkin, 49, spent an additional $856, bringing his total to $2,391.

The spending reported by the primary candidates was the most in any reporting period since the one for Jan. 1 through April 30, for which the seven candidates reported spending $12,015. It brought the total for the race so far to $37,728, more than twice as much as that for any other for a county office.

Incumbent Larry Ashley is retiring from the post, for which income is based on fees the office collects. The circuit clerk is the record-keeper for all circuit court actions as well as the registrar of voters, deaths and marriages.

Also running for the office are Republican Trey Miller and independents Mike Caruthers, 48; Bertha Williams Conner, 55; and Fred Sherard, 40. They all advance to the general election, set for Nov. 4, to face the Democratic nominee from Tuesday or, if no candidate wins a majority, a runoff on Aug. 26.

Spending was also reported in the four other contested party primaries in races for county offices or a legislative office representing much of Warren County.

In the race for District 1 supervisor, incumbent David McDonald, 53, and William Muirhead, 49, are to meet Tuesday in a Republican primary. Muirhead reported spending $1,224 from July 1 through July 26. No report from McDonald was available.

Also in the race are independents Billy R. Boone, 53; Kenneth A. Downs, 39; and Michael J. Terry, 56.

With Muirhead’s July spending, the reported total for the race is $10,231, second-highest among county races so far.

In the race for Southern District Justice Court judge, incumbent Joe Crevitt, 65, is scheduled to meet John Hunter, 62, in a Democratic primary. Hunter reported spending $406 during the July period, while Crevitt’s report showed no spending. The total of reported spending in the race so far is $3,598.

The primary winner will advance, with Republican Edward David Miller, 38, to the general election.

In the race for Central District Justice Court judge, a primary is set between incumbent Richard Bradford, 60, and Dora Smith, 56. July reports showed Bradford spending $175 and Smith none, bringing the total spent for the race to $3,042.

A Republican primary is also scheduled in the race to represent District 54, which includes much of Warren County, in the state House of Representatives. Challenger Alex Monsour, 40, reported spending $2,453 during the July period, bringing his total for the campaign to $9,129. No report was available from incumbent Rep. Chester Masterson, R-Vicksburg, whose reported-spending total remained at $5,768. For the race, $14,897 is reported spent.

Campaign-finance reports were also submitted by candidates in two primaries that are not contested. In the race for Northern District Justice Court judge, Republican Edwin Woods, 38, reported spending $310, bringing his total for the race to $485.

He will advance to the general election with independents W.B. Duggins Jr., 75; Bill Jeffers, 36; and Greg Kurtz, 36.

And in the race for Southern District Constable, incumbent John Henry Heggins, 40, whose name will appear on ballots in the Democratic primary, reported his first spending of the campaign, $315. He is opposed by independent Victor Worrell, 42. Both will advance to the general election.

The Warren County Circuit Clerk’s office is scheduled to be open Saturday from 8 a.m. until noon for absentee voting in the primary elections scheduled for Tuesday. Polls are scheduled to be open then from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m.

Boundaries of some precincts have changed with the redistricting that takes effect with Tuesday’s primaries. Maps of each precinct are on display at the Warren County-Vicksburg Public Library, the board of supervisors building and the circuit clerk’s office.

The polling places of three precincts have also moved, effective beginning with Tuesday’s primaries. The precincts, with new locations, are:

Moose Lodge, Berachah Church, 2918 Fisher Ferry Road.

Tingleville, Church of God, 1870 Culkin Road.

YMCA, Porters Chapel United Methodist Church, 200 Porters Chapel Road.