JACKSON – (AP) Most Mississippi cities elect mayors this year, and party primaries Tuesday narrowed the fields of candidates.
Primary runoffs are May 21. The general election is June 4, with mayoral terms beginning July 1. A candidate must win 50 percent plus one to avoid a runoff, and otherwise the top two vote-getters advance.
In Vicksburg, The Vicksburg Post was reporting late Tuesday that Rep. George Flaggs, Jr., was easily leading five other Democratic candidates with all 11 precincts reporting. Unofficial results showed Flaggs had 2,590 votes, Linda Fondren had 1,515 and first-term Mayor Paul Winfield had 402.
In Jackson, the Clarion Ledger was reporting that businessman Jonathan Lee outpolled 10 other Democrats, including three-term Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr., with 100 precincts reporting. Lee had 11,926 votes, City Council member Chokwe (pronounced SHOW-kway) Lumumba had 8,289 and Johnson had 7,150. Lee and Lumumba advance to a runoff.
No Republican is in the race, but the Democratic nominee will face three independents in the general election.
The newspaper also was reporting that longtime Madison Mayor Mary Hawkins Butler easily staved off a Republican primary challenge from John Bell Crosby, a county supervisor. With all precincts reporting, she won by a 3-1 margin.
In another Jackson suburb, Clinton, Phil Fisher defeated two other Republicans in the GOP primary and Democrat Rodney Carter, Sr., prevailed in his party primary. Both avoid a runoff. Current mayor Rosemary Aultman, a Republican, did not seek re-election.
In Clarksdale, Bill Luckett, who ran for governor in 2011, handily defeated state Rep. Chuck Espy and one other Democrat, according to The Clarksdale Press Register. Luckett will face a Republican and an independent in the general election.
In Hattiesburg, Mayor Johnny DuPree won the Democratic primary for another term. DuPree, the Democratic nominee for governor in 2011, will face four independent candidates in the general election.
Meridian’s incumbent Mayor Mayor Cheri Barry defeated her Republican challenger, William Bond Compton Jr., to win the GOP nomination for mayor in Meridian.
In Meridian’s Democratic primary, Percy Bland defeated Rod Amos to win his party’s nomination.
Two independent candidates are running for mayor as well: Wally Hudnall and Walter Patton.
Oxford’s mayor Pat Patterson has won the Democratic primary in that city.
The Oxford Eagle reports that Patterson finished well ahead of challenger Jason Plunk.
Patterson will face independent Todd Wade in June.