By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Eric Hampton of Tupelo resigned Tuesday as Lee County’s Democratic Party chairman, effective Aug. 31.
Longtime community activist Claude Hartley was elected temporary chairman. His term extends until new four-year officers will be elected early in 2012.
Hampton, a Tupelo businessman, cited health reasons for his exit from the post, elected by fellow members of the party’s executive committee three years ago.
Last year, Hampton drew criticism from local party leaders when he led a push to pressure the resignation of Mike Scott, a Democrat, as the county’s superintendent of education.
Scott came under fire from state party Chairman Jamie Franks of Mooreville when Franks threatened to sue Scott, who admitted to having an affair with Franks’ then-wife, a school system employee.
Scott did not resign and recently won the party’s nomination for re-election. He faces a Republican in the Nov. 8 general election.
Clinton Gannon, who came in second in the Aug. 2 primary for Lee County justice court judge in District 2, conceded the election to Cliff Hardy, who led by six votes.
Last week, Gannon formally requested a recount, although apparently only a judge can order a recount or a new election.
Tuesday, 20-year-old Gannon said he’s happy to have run as a Democrat and plans “to fire it up again in four years.” He told the committee he doesn’t plan any legal action from the Aug. 2 vote.
“This is just a beginning for me,” said the former president of the Itawamba Community College student body.