Lee circuit clerk race pits experienced pair

By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – Joyce Roberts Loftin has been Lee County’s circuit clerk since 1996.
A week or so ago, she woke up to find she had a seasoned political figure as competition to keep that job another four years.
That’s when former Tupelo councilwoman Carolyn Mauldin qualified for the contest.
“Having an opponent isn’t new,” Loftin said. “I think the first time I ran, we had 13 candidates – maybe 10 Democrats and three Republicans.”
That was when one-term Circuit Clerk Mary Faye Gwin decided not to run again.
Today at 5 p.m. is the deadline for candidates to qualify for statewide, district and local offices – except the Legislature, where new district lines are being drawn.
Loftin, 62, has had two jobs in her life, this one and in the cashier’s department “counting Sears’ money,” she joked.
Then she went to work for Lee County, with the board of supervisors and then for two circuit clerks.
A Democrat, she’s overseen county elections and operations of the circuit court, including handling fines and restitution.
“It’s a huge job with lots of challenges and lots of work,” Loftin noted. “But I enjoy it, no matter what.”
Mauldin, 69, was re-organized out of office when the Tupelo Council eliminated two at-large seats, one which she occupied. Today’s council is composed of seven members elected from geographic wards.
The Republican said she’s been working as office manager at Rosewood Care Home and wants to get back into public life.
“I always like to see things get better,” she said late last week. “I just think I would do a good job, although that’s no criticism of Joyce.”
The Tupelo native said she’s proud of the work she did during her 16 years on the council and has been considering this campaign for quite some time.
“There’s never been a Republican in that office, and it would give me a chance to give back,” Mauldin added.
They’ll both wait to see if they get any company for the Aug. 2 party primaries or, with an independent candidate, the Nov. 8 general election.
Contact Patsy R. Brumfield at (662) 678-1596 or patsy.brumfield@journalinc.com.