Mike Tonos 5/20/09 TRIM AS NEEDED
Philadelphia elects first black mayor in runoff
In Jackson, Harvey Johnson earns a chance to regain the city’s top post.
JACKSON – Philadelphia appears to have elected its first black mayor.
Former Neshoba County supervisor James Young led incumbent Mayor Rayburn Waddell in Tuesday’s tight Democratic Party primary runoff, according to unofficial results.
Young would become mayor of the town of about 7,300 people because there is no general election opponent.
Philadelphia is the county seat of central Mississippi’s Neshoba County, home to one of the civil rights era’s most famous crimes, the 1964 slayings of three men in what became known as the “Mississippi Burning” case.
Young, a paramedic and Pentecostal minister, had 1,011 votes to 970 for Waddell, though 44 affidavit ballots were being examined Wednesday by the Municipal Democrat Executive Committee.
Most of those votes were cast in areas that favored Young, election officials said.
In other key races around the state Tuesday:
* Former Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr. defeated councilman Marshand Crisler in the Jackson mayoral Democratic Party runoff. Johnson, 62, will face a Republican and four independent candidates in the June 2 general election.
Johnson served two terms as Jackson mayor before being unseated by former television executive Frank Melton in 2005. Melton came in a distant third in the crowded May 5 primary. He died two days later.
* In Canton, physician William Truly was elected mayor, defeating two-term incumbent Fred Esco in the Democratic primary. Truly is a former alderman who lost to Esco in the 2005 race. Truly has no general election opposition.
* Les Fillingame defeated Mike Weems in the Democratic runoff for mayor of Bay St. Louis. Fillingame will face Republican Lisa Cowand and independent Tad Black in the general election. Mayor Eddie Favre did not run for re-election.
* In Moss Point, alderwoman Aneice Liddell defeated Robert Norvel in the Democratic runoff. The 53-year-old Liddell will face independents Jerry Redmond and Grady Bryant in the general election. Mayor Xavier Bishop did not seek re-election.
* In Picayune, state Sen. Ezell Lee beat former councilman Mark Thorman in the Democratic runoff for mayor. Lee has been in the Legislature for 22 years and was elected to the Senate in 1992. He faces Republican Ed Pinero in the general election.
* In Olive Branch, incumbent Mayor Sam Rikard beat Republican challenger Jessie Medlin in the runoff. The winner will face Independent Randy K. Smith and Democrat Dale A.J. Bradshaw in the general election.
* In Petal, teacher Hal Marx beat Joe McMurry in the Republican Party runoff for mayor. Incumbent Mayor Carl Scott lost in the first primary. There are no independent or Democratic candidates running for mayor in the general election.