Local judicial race picks up last-minute candidates

The qualifying deadline for circuit court positions passed Friday, May 9, with two more candidates joining the race.

All but one of the Union County chancery and circuit court judges are running unopposed. The exception is for Circuit Court Judge, District 3 Place 2.

Incumbent Robert W. Elliott decided to not seek re-election and local assistant district attorney Kelly Luther qualified for that race. He had no opposition until about a week ago when Shirley C. Byers and J. Kizer (Ki) Jones, both attorneys in Holly Springs, qualified as well.

Unopposed incumbents in the chancery court races are John A. Hatcher, District 1 Place 1; Michael Malski, District 1 Place 2; Jacqueline Estes, District 1 Place 3; and Talmadge D. Littlejohn, District 1 Place 4.

The unopposed incumbent circuit court judges are Andrew K. Howorth, District 3 Place 1 and John A. Gregory, District 3 Place 3.

Primaries are slated for June 3, followed by run-offs June 24 if needed, and the general election will be Nov. 4.

On the Nov. 4 ballot will be a U. S. Senate seat, U.S. House of Representatives Seat, four chancery court judges’ posts, three circuit court judges’ posts and, locally, one county school board seat.

The only races that will require a primary are the Democratic contests for Senate and District 1 House of Representatives nominee, and Republican race for senate nominee. Other traditional party candidates are unopposed and third-party candidates will not be on the ballot until November.

In the senate race, long-time Republican incumbent Thad Cochran is seeking re-election and will face tea party candidate Republican state senator and attorney Chris McDaniel and Realtor Tom Carey in the primary.

On the Democratic side, former Prentiss County Chancery Clerk Travis Childers will go against teacher and past candidate Bill Compton Jr., John Rawl and Bill Marcy. Marcy is a retired police officer, tea party activist, past candidate and former Republican. Some Mississippi Democrats have opposed his being certified to run as a Democrat.

In the U. S. House race, Republican two-term incumbent Alan Nunnelee of Tupelo will not face a primary challenge but will be on the November ballot with Libertarian Danny Bedwell of Columbus and the winner of a Democratic primary between Ron Dickey, a mental health technician, former police officer and Gulf War veteran of Horn Lake, and Rex Weathers, a Navy veteran and past candidate.

The only truly local election Nov. 4 will be for the District Five seat on the Union County School Board of Trustees. Wayne Mahon is the currently serving Fifth District school trustee but the qualifying period for that office is not until Aug. 6 through Sept. 5.

Circuit Clerk Phyllis Stanford said absentee voting for the June 3 primary is already going on for those qualified. Anyone eligible may go to Stanford’s office in the courthouse between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

She said her office will be open from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday, May 24, and Saturday, may 31, for absentee voting as well.

Voters may participate in either the Democratic or Republican primary but will have to vote in that same party in the event of a runoff. They may choose a mix of candidates regardless of party affiliation in the November 4 general election.

This will be the first Mississippi election where a photo ID will be required before a voter can cast a ballot. Most people have some acceptable form of photo ID but if they do not, a special voter photo ID can be obtained by going to Stanford’s office.

Who may vote an absentee ballot

You are qualified to cast an absentee ballot if you fall into one of the dozen following categories:

  • Members of the Armed Forces or their spouses and/or dependents;
  • Members of the Merchant Marines or the American Red Cross, or their spouses and/or dependents;
  • Disabled war veterans who are patients in any hospital, or their spouses and/or dependents;
  • Civilians attached to any branch of the Armed Forces, the Merchant Marines, or the American Red Cross and serving outside the United States, or their spouses and/or dependents;
  • Persons temporarily residing outside the territorial limits of the United States and the District of Columbia;
  • Students, teachers, or administrators whose employment or studies necessitate their absence from their county of voting residence, or their dependent or spouse who maintains a common domicile outside the county of voting residence;
  • Persons who will be outside their county of residence on election day;
  • Persons required to be at work on election day during the times at which the polls will be open;
  • Persons temporarily or permanently physically disabled;
  • Persons sixty-five years of age or older;
  • Parents, spouses or dependents of persons having a temporary or permanent physical disability who are hospitalized outside their county of residence or more than 50 miles away from their residence if the parents spouses, and/or dependents will be with such persons on election day;
  • Members of the Mississippi Congressional delegation, or their spouses and/or dependents.