With alderman position in hand, Monsour will now bid farewell to Mississippi House of Representatives

Published 9:15 am Friday, June 9, 2017

The election of Alex Monsour as South Ward alderman will leave the city and Warren County one legislator short in the Mississippi House.

Monsour defeated incumbent South Ward Alderman Willis Thompson by eight votes, 942 votes to 934 votes for Thompson in a race that was not decided until Wednesday morning, when affidavit ballots submitted at the South Ward precincts were counted. Thompson said he would not contest the tally.

The election returns were certified by the Vicksburg Municipal Election Commission Wednesday.

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Monsour represents District 54 in the Legislature; a district that includes portions of Warren County, including part of Vicksburg, Yazoo and Issaquena counties.

And although a Mississippi Attorney General’s opinion indicates he can continue to serve in the Legislature, Monsour said he plans to resign his seat before the new administration is sworn in July 2. The new Board of Mayor and Aldermen holds its first meeting July 5.

“I haven’t even checked into the process of that to see what we do,” he said, adding he has spent the last 36 hours recovering from the election and collecting his campaign signs. He said he planned to go to Jackson either Friday or Monday to talk with House Clerk Andrew Ketchings and Speaker of the House Philip Gunn (R-Jackson) about submitting his resignation.

To resign from a seat, Ketchings said, a legislator sends a letter of resignation giving up the seat and the effective date of the resignation to the governor, the speaker and the clerk.

“They usually end up sending it to one of those places,” he said. “It is a very simple process, and that starts the clock burning as to when the governor would set a special election.”

The governor, Ketchings said, does not appoint someone to fill the seat. “He calls for a special election and it is an open election, with no political parties.”

According to the Secretary of State’s election calendar, the date for a special election to fill vacated seats like Monsour’s is Nov. 7. Gov. Phil Bryant does have the option to call a special election sooner, but Bryant’s spokesman Knox Graham said Bryant has not received Monsour’s resignation. “Nothing will be decided about a special election until he has received his resignation,” Graham said.

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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