Two more sign up for county elections

Published 12:15 pm Friday, February 25, 2011

The burgeoning lists of candidates for supervisor and tax assessor gained new entrants Thursday, both of whom are trying a second time for public office.

John Arnold, who nearly unseated District 1 Supervisor David McDonald four years ago, became the third Republican in the race to represent the northeast Warren County district. Arnold, 57, a real estate broker for Vicksburg Realty LLC, lost the primary to McDonald in 2007 by 17 votes out of 1,979 votes cast in a race decided by a manual recount.

Mike Caruthers, 56, owner of Caruthers Marine on Washington Street, became the second person to file for assessor. Four-term incumbent assessor Richard Holland said this week he’ll retire at year’s end. Caruthers filed as a Republican. In 2003, Caruthers, as an independent, finished third out of five candidates for circuit clerk.

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Qualifying wraps up at 5 p.m. Tuesday in statewide and local races and June 1 for seats in the Legislature. So far, four have filed for District 1 — Republicans McDonald, Arnold and businessman Joe Channell, and county permitting inspector Reed Birdsong, an independent. Ben Luckett, an appraiser in the tax assessor’s office, filed as a Democrat this week for the office’s top job. Party primaries are Aug. 2 and the general election is Nov. 8.

Arnold said he remembers coming close enough last time to be declared the winner on Jackson television at 10 on primary night, only to lose the race to McDonald when absentee and affidavit ballots were totaled — at about 1:45 a.m. McDonald won 52.7 percent versus two opponents in the general election.

“I just want to represent the people,” Arnold said, counting a new jail and road maintenance as some of the top issues. “It’s more than that, though.”

Caruthers, the third-generation owner of the boating supply outlet, said it is time for “new blood” in the assessor’s office.

“Ricky (Holland)’s retiring, and with my business experience and my being in the community for a number of years, I just felt like it was time for a change,” Caruthers said.

In Warren County, voters will decide winners in eight statewide races and 24 district-level and countywide offices. Voters in November also will decide the fate of three initiatives placed on the ballot by separate petitions — the definition of a person, voter identification and eminent domain.

Three of five county supervisors have drawn challengers, as has Sheriff Martin Pace.

In the Legislature, state Rep. Alex Monsour and state Sen. Briggs Hopson III, both Republicans, have qualified for re-election. State Rep. George Flaggs, D-Vicksburg, has not filed officially, but is expected to seek a seventh term.

In District 2, Democrat William Banks faces a primary challenge for his supervisor seat from city zoning board member Tommie Rawlings, who lost to Banks four years ago. District 5 Supervisor Richard George has two opponents, J.W. Carroll, a retired electrician, and Ellis Tillotson, a farmer. All three are independents.

Through Thursday, District 3 Supervisor Charles Selmon and District 4 Supervisor Bill Lauderdale had not drawn any opposition.

Pace, an independent, is being challenged by former deputy Bubba Comans, who entered the Democratic primary. Pace is running for a fourth full term.

For chancery clerk, City Clerk Walter Osborne is in the Democratic primary while three have filed to be on the Republican ballot — City Accounting Director Doug Whittington, retired health care administrator Donna Farris Hardy and Dawn Cain Barnes, a dental hygienist. Two independents, legal assistant Alecia Ashley and retired forester Gene Thompson, also have filed. Incumbent Dot McGee plans to retire at year’s end after three terms.