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Leyens says he won’t seek third term

[08/18/04] Laurence Leyens said Tuesday that he will seek a second term as mayor of Vicksburg, but if he wins it will be his last.

“I really don’t want to have a political career,” Leyens told about 30 members of the Vicksburg Kiwanis Club. “I don’t have the makeup for it.”

Leyens, 40, won his first and only elective office in July 2001 and will be up for re-election next summer. He officially announced his bid for a second term at a private party last month.

“I guarantee I will not run again after this next term,” Leyens said.

Although the first municipal primary election is about nine months away, speculation has already been buzzing around the city about who will likely oppose Leyens next year. So far the only candidates to commit have been Warren County District 3 Supervisor Charles Selmon and Eric Rawlings, 40.

Selmon, 44, a Democrat, began his third term in January as the only supervisor whose district is completely within the city limits.

“I’m in it,” Selmon said. “Bottom line, I feel I can do a better job running the City of Vicksburg than what the current administration is doing.”

Rawlings ran unsuccessfully four years ago in the Democratic primary against then-incumbent Mayor Robert Walker.

Walker, 59, who served two terms, from 1989 to 1993 and from 1997 to 2001, has not committed to running again, but also has not ruled the idea out. He has been working at Jackson State University since leaving City Hall and participated in the project to erect an African-American monument in the Vicksburg National Park.

Also not yet committed one way or the other is former Mayor Joe Loviza.

Loviza, 64, was mayor from 1993 to 1997 and has also been teaching since the last election.

In the 2001 campaign, Leyens won 52 percent of the vote against incumbent Walker, Loviza and Eva Marie Ford, but Vicksburg voters have not returned an incumbent to the mayor’s office since 1988.

Qualifying papers to run in municipal elections cannot be submitted until after the first of the year. The deadline to qualify will be March 4.