Contests shaping up in Lee County elections; Sheriff Johnson will run as Republican

By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – Lee County Sheriff Jim Johnson will seek re-election as a Republican for the first time, while incumbent Superintendent of Education Mike Scott has competition in his own try for another term.
Mississippi elects officials from governor to constable in 2011, and candidates began qualifying to run last Saturday.
So far, in Lee County, nearly every office has a candidate although some current officeholders have yet to make their intentions public.
Johnson is seeking his third term as sheriff. The first two came as a Democrat, but he has switched parties for this year’s election.
“It’s a better fit for me right now,” Johnson said.
“I’ve got nothing negative to say about either party, and I’ve said from the very beginning, it really has no bearing on my job. Unfortunately, when you’ve got to run, you’ve got to choose a party.”
Others switching from Democrat to Republican are Pat Carr, longtime District 1 justice court judge, and Ted Wood, District 2 constable.
Scott, who is completing his first term, faces a Democratic challenge from John McGaugh, former principal at Saltillo Primary School. The winner will face the GOP primary winner in November.
So far, other Aug. 2 primary contests have shaped up with:
• Carr opposed by Grady Guntharp.
• Michael Paul Anglin against Ted Wood for District 2 constable.
• Sadie Holland and Melinda Wells for District 3 justice court judge.
• Joe McKinney and Billy Joe Holland in the District 5 supervisor’s race.
Candidates for county office have until March 1 to qualify with the circuit clerk’s office.
Multicounty office qualifiers register with their state political parties, or if they are independents, with the Secretary of State’s Office.
Many legislative candidates are waiting to qualify until new district lines are drawn from 2010 Census results. They have a later deadline.

Contact Patsy R. Brumfield at (662) 678-1596 or

Qualify for Lee County offices:
(i) = incumbent, current officeholder
Elected countywide
• Chancery clerk – Bill Benson (i), R
• Circuit clerk – Joyce R. Loftin (i), D
• Coroner – Carolyn Gillentine Green (i), D
• County Prosecuting Attorney – Brian Neely, D; Kirk Tharp, R
• County Court Judge – none yet
• County Surveyor – Carl Scherff (i)
• Sheriff – Jim Johnson (i), R
• Supt. of Education – John McGaugh, D; Mike Scott (i), D; Jimmy Weeks, R
• Tax Assessor – none qualified yet
• Tax Collector – Danny T. Mitchell
Elected in designated county districts
• Supervisor D1 – Phil Morgan (i), R
• Supervisor D2 – Bobby Smith (i), R
• Supervisor D3 – Darrell Rankin (i), R
• Supervisor D4 – Tommie Lee Ivy (i), D
• Supervisor D5 – Joe McKinney (i), D; Billy Joe Holland, D
• Justice Court Judge D1 – Patt Carr (i), R; Grady Guntharp, R
• Justice Court Judge D2 – Clinton Gannon, D
• Justice Court Judge D3 – Sadie M. Holland (i), D; Melinda Wells, D
• Justice Court Judge D4 – Rickey W. Thompson (i), D
• Constable D1 – Joe Huckaby, R
• Constable D2 – Michael Paul Anglin, R; Ted Wood (i), R
• Constable D3 – Phil Gann (i), D
• Constable D4 – Tom Henry “Punnie” Lyles (i), D
• Election Commission (5 districts)
Elected across multiple counties
• District Attorney D1 – none yet
• District Attorney D3 – none yet
• Legislature – Mississippi will realign its House and Senate districts, according to 2010 Census results. Legislative candidates will wait to see where the lines are drawn before they qualify later this year.
• Public Service Commissioner, North – Brandon Presley (i), D
• Transportation Commissioner, North – none yet

Election dates
March 1 – Qualifying deadline for non-legislative candidates
June 1 – Qualifying deadline for legislative candidates
Aug. 2 – Party primary elections
Aug. 23 – Party primary runoffs
Nov. 8 – General election, special elections
Nov. 29 – Runoffs, if needed