First-time candidate defeats incumbent supervisor Lauderdale

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 5, 2003

District 4 Supervisor-elect Carl Flanders takes a congratulatory phone call as his father, Jim Flanders, and wife, Tiffany Flanders, stand by Tuesday night. (Melanue Duncan Thortis The Vicksburg Post)

[11/5/03]First-time candidate and public school teacher Carl Flanders was the stunner Tuesday defeating 16-year District 4 Supervisor Bill Lauderdale’s bid for a fifth term.

Flanders, 33, an independent, nudged out Lauderdale by 189 votes out of a winner-take-all field of four candidates. He will take office Jan. 1 and join the supervisors from four other districts who all won re-election.

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Flanders called his victory a grassroots effort in the district south of Vicksburg.

“I think that there were a lot of people who worked for us and a lot of people that helped,” Flanders said.

Lauderdale, 55, who has served as supervisor since 1988, had little to say as he left the courthouse with his family after the votes were read. He said it was “just politics” that led to his defeat and said he has no plans yet for the future.

“We’re going to sit around and talk about it,” Lauderdale said.

Flanders took 1,192 votes to Lauderdale’s 1,003. Others in that race were Reginald King Sr., an independent candidate who took 608 votes, and Charles Stevens, a Republican, who garnered 222.

The returns are complete, including absentees, but are not certified.

Lauderdale, who also ran as an independent, was senior member of the county governing board, and serving several one-year stints as president put him at the center of many issues. Included were plans for expand a landfill off Jeff Davis Road, the future of the U.S. 80 Mississippi River bridge and the Kings Point Island debate. Supervisors have also been in the public’s eye over funding disputes with the City of Vicksbur’g and a projected relocation of rail tracks from the city’s center. Much of the informally accepted route would take Kansas City Southern trains through District 4.

Flanders, who teaches 6th-grade math at Vicksburg Intermediate School, said he will be leaving that job after the end of the current semester to dedicate himself to county business. He has been active before the Vicksburg Warren School District Board of Trustees and in the bridge controversy.

He would not say what issues he believed led to his victory or any specific plans after he takes office. The post pays $37,343 for the part-time job, which Flanders said will be a $5,000-a-year raise from his teaching position.

“I just want to make sure that every person in this district knows what the duties and responsibilities of a supervisor are,” Flanders said.

Other supervisors said they were shocked about the change in District 4.

“I do hope and pray that we will have a board that wants to do what’s best for the citizens of Warren County, and I look forward to working with the new board,” said District 2 Supervisor Michael Mayfield.

Mayfield, a Democrat, took an overwhelming 2,238 votes to independent candidate Tony Hart’s 328. Mayfield received the most votes of any supervisor candidate in Warren County en route to a third, four-year term.

Board president and District 5 Supervisor Richard George said he was also surprised by Lauderdale’s loss, but was pleased to have won his third term on the county board.

“I’m just really happy that the people choose to support me the way that they did and I hope I live up to their expectations,” George said.

George, an independent, took 1,981 votes to Democrat Frank Gardner’s 713 and independent candidate Joe Wooley’s 818.

David McDonald, a Republican, became the first District 1 incumbent in six terms to win a second, consecutive term. He polled 2,083 votes, more than double all his opponents combined.

“I feel real good about it, and I’m glad it’s over,” McDonald said. “It’s been a long eight months.”

His opponents were independent candidates Kenneth Downs, who took 422 votes, Billy Boone, 443 votes and Michael Terry Sr., 535 votes.

“It’s been a good race and I appreciate all the people who supported me,” Terry said. “I wish David the best of luck.”

In District 3, Democrat Charles Selmon won his third term with 1,904 votes to independent candidate and former supervisor Betty Jackson’s 826.