List of Senate, Transportation hopefuls grows

By Bobby Harrison/NEMS Daily Journal

JACKSON – More candidates have emerged in the upcoming special elections to fill Senate and Transportation Commission vacancies.
Although Gov. Haley Barbour has yet to set the special elections, three people have announced for the Northern District Transportation Commission race: House Transportation Chair Warner McBride, D-Courtland; John Caldwell, DeSoto Schools transportation director; and Joey Hood, a longtime Department of Transportation employee and special assistant.
They are seeking to fill the vacancy created by the unexpected death last week of Transportation Commissioner Bill Minor of Holly Springs.
Caldwell, a Republican and former DeSoto County supervisor, was defeated by Minor for the Northern District post in 2003. He made his intentions known Wednesday, as did McBride.
Others, namely former Northern District Commissioner Zack Stewart, D-New Albany, who stepped down in January 2004, have said they are considering a run for the post.
The District 6 Senate seat will be vacated soon by Alan Nunnelee, R-Tupelo, who was elected to the U.S. House last week.
Possible candidates include Nancy Collins, who played a major role in establishing Sanctuary Hospice House in Tupelo; J.J. Jasper, an American Family Association radio personality; Jeremy Martin, who ran unsuccessfully for the state House in 2003; and Tupelo City Council members Mike Bryan and Jonny Davis.
Tupelo businessman Doug Wright and former Sherman Alderman Stacy Scott already have announced their intention to run.
Mike Armour, director of the Appalachian Regional Commission in Mississippi, has been mentioned as a possible candidate for both seats. He recently said he had made no decisions on whether he would run and, if so, for which office.
Three potential candidates said they will not be running for the seat: state Rep. Brian Aldridge, R-Tupelo; state Rep. Steve Holland, D-Plantersville; and state Rep. Jerry Turner, R-Baldwyn.
Bill Renick, a former state senator who is now work force director for the Mississippi Partnership, which covers much of north Mississippi, had earlier said he was considering the Transportation Commission post, but numerous reports indicate that he is leaning against running.
Contact Bobby Harrison at (601) 353-3119 or bobby.harrison@djournal.com.