Mayoral candidates line up|2 sign up, 2 others announced for mayor

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Two who aspire to the top job at City Hall made their intentions official in the first week of qualifying for municipal elections in Vicksburg.

City campaign 2009 deadlines

* To qualify as a candidate for either mayor or alderman: 5 p.m. March 6

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* To register to vote in the Democratic and Republican primaries: noon April 4

• To vote absentee in person in the city clerk’s office: April 25

* To have city clerk’s office receive mailed absentee ballots: 5 p.m. May 4

* Primary election: May 5, polls open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

* Primary runoffs, if necessary: May 19

* To vote absentee in person at the city clerk’s office for the general election: noon April 30

* To have city clerk’s office receive mailed absentee general election ballots: 5 p.m. June 1

* General election: June 2

For a complete list of campaign-related deadlines, click here.

John Shorter, 42, filed paperwork to run in the May 5 Democratic Primary for mayor, his second attempt for the office.

Four years ago, Shorter, a coordinator for a California-based defense contractor, finished third in a field of four candidates in the primary.

Former North Ward Alderman Gertrude Young also made good on intentions stated last summer and qualified for the mayor’s race as a Democrat. Primary winners in the mayoral and alderman races advance to the June 2 general election. Mayor Laurence Leyens, who has run twice as an independent, has said he will file papers to seek a third term, meaning he will face the Democratic nominee and any other independents who file. He would also face a Republican nominee if any candidates file for that nomination.

Leyens and Aldermen Michael Mayfield, a Democrat, and Sid Beauman, a Republican, have picked up documents from the city clerk’s office but have not completed them. Local attorney Paul Winfield is another announced likely Democratic challenger, but has not filed paperwork.

Shorter regularly attends city board meetings and comments on city actions, sometimes in his individual capacity and sometimes as president of the local branch of the NAACP. He focuses on city budget topics. Shorter said he will take campaign contributions if offered but will not actively seek funds.

“Vicksburg is a small town. It doesn’t take hundreds of thousands of dollars to run,” Shorter said while waiting to sign his qualifying forms.

Shorter, Young and Winfield have also been active in the county and state Democratic Executive Committee — Shorter as its current committee chairman, Young as a committee member and Winfield as the state party treasurer and national convention delegate for President-elect Barack Obama.

All three have mentioned making housing more affordable as part of mostly general platforms. Shorter and Young have said they would end what they call “selective coding” by city code enforcement officers kept busy during the Leyens administration in efforts to beautify the city.

Leyens mentioned his desire last spring to win a third term from Vicksburg voters, with economic development through private investment a high priority.

District 3 Supervisor Charles Selmon, who lost the general election to Leyens in 2005, has said he will stay out of this year’s race but will support a candidate once qualifying ends March 6.

The three city officials elected June 2 start four-year terms July 1.


Contact Danny Barrett Jr. at