McDonald says he won’t seek chancery clerk spot

Published 12:07 pm Friday, January 7, 2011

David McDonald said Thursday he has changed his mind about running for the Warren County chancery clerk’s job and will instead seek to be re-elected to the Board of Supervisors District 1 spot he has held for 12 years.

“The last three weeks, I haven’t slept worth a darn,” McDonald said. “The more I thought about it, it always came back to the money. My heart’s not in running for chancery. My heart’s into being supervisor.”

McDonald had said in November that he would seek the countywide spot, doubling the pay he receives as a supervisor. He said Thursday he had picked up the necessary paperwork for filing for re-election but, by this morning, he had not filed.

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McDonald’s reversal paired with official filings by District 3 Supervisor Charles Selmon and Central District Justice Court Judge James Jefferson Jr.

Chancery clerks are paid $90,000 in Mississippi, as per state law, though service-based fees make total salaries variable from county to county. Incumbent Dot McGee, 73, has said she’ll retire at year’s end after three terms, overseeing completion of a computer database of land and chancery court records to pair with antique paper record books.

Supervisor salaries are based on population, with Warren’s five board members making $44,012 annually.

The clerk’s office maintains all records for chancery courts and boards of supervisors in the state. Statutory duties include recording board minutes, preparing the claims docket and county payroll, and recording and storing deeds, land records and documents received from the court.

In recent weeks, McDonald, 61, said differences with other county officials over such issues as how to finance and where to build a new jail made a switch appear attractive. On Thursday, he mentioned the same issue as a reason to stay on the board.

“There’s a lot of paving we need to do, and, of course, we have the jail,” McDonald said, adding he plans to file to run in the Republican primary.

McDonald was first elected in 1999 and was in the transmission repair business before entering public office. Currently, he owns or co-owns 22 residential and commercial properties inside and outside Vicksburg. His re-election bid in 2007 resulted in a bare 17-vote win in the primary and a 52.7 percent majority over two opponents in the general election.

Qualifying runs through March 1 for county and statewide races and June 1 for legislative offices. Party primaries are Aug. 2, and the general election is Nov. 8.

City Clerk Walter Osborne has expressed interest in the chancery clerk position, though no one had officially qualified for the office this morning.

Selmon, 50, represents the lone area of Warren’s five supervisor districts completely inside the city. He turned back one Democratic primary opponent four years ago and was unopposed on the general ballot.

Jefferson, 64, faces voters a second time in a year after winning a special election to justice court in November. The central district judgeship was vacated by Richard Bradford in 2009. Justice court judges preside over small-claims cases, misdemeanor offenses outside city limits and state traffic offenses.