Qualifying for ‘11 races opens Jan. 1

Two Union County elected officials say they do not plan to seek re-election in 2011.

Both Union County Sheriff Tommy Wilhite and County Tax Assessor/Collector Dennis Rakestraw have announced that they will not run for another term of office.
Wilhite, who was first elected as sheriff in 1999, said he wants to retire and have more time with his family.
“When it’s time to get out, it’s time,”  Wilhite said, who has 36 years’ experience in criminal investigation, including service as game warden for the Mississippi Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks Department and deputy and criminal investigator for the Union County Sheriff’s Department.
Rakestraw had similar feelings about his decision to leave public office.
“I just decided it was time to get out,” Rakestraw said.  “I plan to serve out the rest of my term and, if I’m fortunate enough to have lived until then, I’ll have 30 plus years of service, including military service.  I’ve been blessed to work for this county and I have no complaints.”
Other offices open for election in 2011 include all five county supervisor seats, as well as county coroner, superintendent of education,  county prosecutor, two county constable posts, Circuit clerk and Chancery clerk.
According to Union County Circuit Clerk Phyllis Stanford, Union County residents who plan to run for any of these offices will have the opportunity to do so beginning Saturday.
“Technically, qualifying starts on Jan. 1,” Stanford said.  “Since we will be open this Saturday for absentee voting for the Jan. 11 special election, anyone who wants to seek an office can come in and fill out their paperwork.  I’ve had a few of the incumbents tell me that they plan to come in.”
The deadline for qualifying to run for an office is March 1.
Union County citizens will also join other Mississippians in electing statewide officials, including governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, attorney general, state auditor, state treasurer, commissioner of insurance, commissioner of of agriculture and commerce, state senator and state representative.
Anyone who plans to seek a statewide office must register with the secretary of state’s office.
The primary elections will be held on Aug. 2, with a runoff on Aug. 23.  The winner of the primary races will run in the general election, set for Nov. 8.

Local races up for election
County supervisors
Chancery Clerk
Circuit Clerk
Tax Assessor/Collector
County Superintendent
County Prosecutor
Justice Court Judges
District Attorney

Important Dates
March 1 – Qualifying ends
Aug. 2 – Primary election
Nov. 8 – General election