2 defeated candidates endorse Selmon|[5/10/05]

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 10, 2005

The two candidates eliminated in Vicksburg’s Democratic mayoral primary threw their support behind Charles Selmon at a news conference Monday night.

Speaking at Unique Impressions restaurant, John Shorter and Eric Rawlings said they would be campaigning for Selmon, who faces John Ferguson in a runoff a week from today.

Shorter and Rawlings said the main reason they are supporting Selmon is that they believe he has the best chance to oust incumbent Mayor Laurence Leyens and win the $73,500-a-year position.

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“Mr. Selmon has an appeal toward blacks and whites, whereas Mr. Ferguson doesn’t have that appeal,” he added.

Rawlings echoed Shorter’s remarks.

“Mr. Ferguson represented Warren County 10 years ago. Policies have changed, politics is more fast-paced. With Mr. Selmon in office now, he is up on current politics,” Rawlings said.

Selmon has been a supervisor for nine years. Ferguson was a member of the county governing board from 1980 to 1995.

Selmon thanked Rawlings and Shorter for their support.

“These gentlemen ran an excellent campaign. Unfortunately, only one of us can be mayor,” Selmon said.

This morning, Ferguson said he did not know about the endorsements, but said it wouldn’t affect the outcome of the runoff a week from today.

“Inexperience usually goes together, but they have a right to support whoever they desire,” Ferguson said.

The runoff winner and party nominee will advance to face two independents – Leyens, 40, and former Mayor Joe Loviza, 65, – and Republican nominee Shirley N. Smollen, 69, in the June 7 general election.

Selmon, 44, Warren County District 3 supervisor, took 42 percent of the May 3 primary vote. Ferguson, 63, a former supervisor and a member of the Warren County Port Commission, had 31 percent of the vote. Shorter, 38, took 17 percent of the vote and Rawlings, 42, had 10 percent. Slightly fewer than 4,300 people cast votes in the primary, about 23 percent of Vicksburg’s registered voters.

Selmon said he often ran into the candidates on the campaign trail and said they agreed on more than they disagreed.

“We all feel the City of Vicksburg’s leadership needs changing,” Selmon said.

He said he would incorporate some of Rawlings’ and Shorter’s ideas in his campaign.

“I have no problem stepping across lines and asking for help,” Selmon said.

In a campaign event three days before the primary, all four Democratic mayoral candidates said they would support the party’s eventual nominee.

The race between Selmon and Ferguson will be the only one on the runoff ballot.

Michael Mayfield won the Democratic nomination for North Ward alderman, unseating incumbent Gertrude Young. Mayfield will face independents Vickie Bailey and Tommie Rawlings in the general election. Carl Yelverton, a Republican, was in the race, but he has not appeared at campaign events and has reportedly dropped out.

Pam Johnson won the South Ward alderman Democratic nomination and will face incumbent Sid Beauman in the general election.

If Selmon wins the general election, he will have to resign his county office. The remaining supervisors would appoint someone to fill the vacancy and set a special election for November.