Qualifying for Vicksburg election opens up; incumbents sign up

Published 6:44 pm Saturday, January 7, 2017

Qualifying for Vicksburg’s municipal elections kicked off Tuesday with the city’s North and South Ward aldermen, Michael Mayfield and Willis Thompson, filing their qualifying papers for re-election and setting off speculation as to who else will be running for one of the city’s three elective city offices.

Qualifying runs through 5 p.m. March 3 at the city clerk’s office in City Hall. The primary election is May 2, with runoff elections May 16. The general election is June 6. The new Board of Mayor and Aldermen will be sworn-in in July.

The mayor’s salary is $93,450; the aldermen earn $74,550. The mayor and aldermen’s salaries are set by city ordinance and will increase by 5 percent July 1, 2018.

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To run for office, a candidate must be a registered voter in the city where they plan to run, have never been convicted of bribery, perjury or any other crime punished by a minimum of one year in prison, unless pardoned, and never been convicted of a felony in state or federal court.

To qualify for a party primary, a candidate must submit qualifying papers at least 60 days before the first primary and pay a $10 qualifying fee.

Candidates running as independents must file qualifying papers and a qualifying petition signed by 50 registered voters in the city within 60 days before the first primary election. Independent candidates do not have to pay a filing fee

To win in the first primary, which is a party primary, a candidate must win by 50 percent of the vote plus one more vote.

Presently, no one has qualified for mayor, although Mayor George Flaggs Jr. has said in a press release he will qualify for re-election at noon Feb. 7.

Flaggs added he would not comment on other candidates running for mayor.

“It has always been my policy never to comment on political opponents,” he said.

District 3 Warren County Supervisor Charles Selmon, who has been mentioned as a challenger for Flagg’s seat, said Friday he was considering running for the position, adding he was not 100 percent certain he would run, although a press release issued Jan. 5 on letterhead showing a campaign card saying “Charles Selmon, Mayor, City of Vicksburg” and a photo of City Hall indicated he will announce his candidacy Tuesday at a 1 p.m. press conference at the Hampton Inn on Clay Street.

At least two candidates who ran for mayor in the 2013 election have been mentioned as potential candidates.

Klondyke owner David Day, who ran as a Democrat in 2013, said he is considering another run.

“I haven’t made a final decision at this point.” he said. “I am aware of some people who are running, and I’m speaking with them and seeing what’s best for the city.”

Developer Daryl Hollingsworth, who ran as a Republican in 2013, declined to comment.

Linda Fondren, who finished second to Flaggs in the 2013 Democratic primary, said she is not running for mayor this term. Neither is city housing director Gertrude Young, a former North Ward alderwoman who also sought the mayor’s seat in 2013.

“I’m not running for anything,” she said.

In the North Ward, Mayfield has only one known opponent, Vicksburg police investigator Troy Kimble, who said he expects to qualify in February after he has officially resigned from the police department.

Presently, Thompson faces no opposition.

Don Miller, a former South Ward alderman who ran in 2013, said, “ I’m going to pass this time. I’d love to, but my time is now past.”

One rumored South Ward candidate is State Rep. Alex Monsour, R-Vicksburg).

“At this point, it’s just a rumor,” Monsour said. “I’ve been asked by many, many people to run for it, but I’m happy being a state representative.”

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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