Sixteen qualify for ‘11 on first day

If the first day of 2011 is any indication, this year’s countywide elections will be very competitive.

Sixteen Union County citizens went to the Union County Circuit Clerk’s office Saturday, Jan. 1, 2011 and qualified to run in several of the county office races up for grabs in August and November.

As of press time Tuesday morning, the most hotly contested election looks to be for the Union County Sheriff’s seat, with five residents throwing their hat into the ring.

Anthony Anderson, Chad Glasson, Jim Taylor and Jimmy Dean Whitten filled out the necessary paperwork on Saturday, while James “Rambo” Province qualified early Tuesday morning.

County residents will be picking a new sheriff this year, as Tommy Wilhite has announced that he will not seek a fourth term.

Another race that will bring a new face to the position is county tax collector.  Both Randy Dunnam and Mike Meinz have qualified for that race, as of Tuesday morning.

Current Tax Collector Dennis Rakestraw also has plans to retire.

Two races in which an incumbent will see competition are for the District 4 Supervisor spot and for East Post Constable.  Supervisor Randy Owen and challenger Mike Gentry qualified to run on Saturday.  Meanwhile Constable P.J. Doyle will face Drew Cook.

Other incumbents who have qualified to run for another term include Circuit Clerk Phyllis Stanford, Chancery Clerk Annette Hickey, District One Supervisor Dwight “Peanut” Pickens, District Two Supervisor Sammy Coffey, District Five Supervisor Benny Rakestraw and Cororner Mark Golding.

As of Tuesday morning, six races had no candidates, including the district 3 supervisor race, the west post constable race, both west and east post justice court judges races, county attorney and Union County School District’s superintendent of education. 

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.