By Emily Wagster Pettus/The Associated Press
JACKSON — Most Mississippi cities will elect mayors Tuesday, choosing people to propose budgets, appoint department heads and make sure that potholes are filled, garbage is collected and clean water is flowing.
Polls will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., and winners begin their terms on July 1.
The U.S. Justice Department says it will monitor elections in six cities to ensure people are complying with the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination based on race or other factors. The federal observers will be in Brookhaven, Greenwood, Isola, Meridian, Philadelphia and Ruleville.
Among the cities getting new mayors are Brookhaven, Clarksdale, Clinton, Gulfport, Pascagoula and Tupelo, where incumbents didn’t seek re-election. In Jackson and Vicksburg, mayors were defeated last month in party primaries.
In Jackson, Democrat Chokwe Lumumba, an attorney and City Council member, faces three independents running low-budget campaigns: Cornelius Griggs, Francis Smith Jr. and Richard C. “Chip” Williams Jr. Three-term Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr. placed third the Democratic primary.
In Meridian, Republican Mayor Cheri Barry faces Democrat Percy Bland, who’s a businessman, and independents Wally Hundall and Walter Patton.
Two-term Ocean Springs Mayor Connie Moran, a Democrat who was her party’s nominee for state treasurer in 2011, faces Republican John McKay, a Jackson County supervisor.
Greenwood Mayor Carolyn McAdams, an independent, faces the one-term Democratic mayor she unseated in 2009, Sheriel Perkins.
Four-term Southaven Mayor Greg Davis, an independent, faces Republican insurance agent Darren Musselwhite and Democrat Coria Williams, a retired major from the Memphis, Tenn., Police Department. Davis was elected to the state House of Representatives in 1991 and served until he was elected mayor in 1997. He ran unsuccessfully as a Republican for the 1st District congressional seat in 2008. Davis has had legal problems, including a state auditor’s demand that he repay more than $70,000 for personal expenses charged to the city.
Some of the other mayoral races being decided Tuesday:
– Bay St. Louis: One-term Democratic incumbent Les Fillingame faces Republican businessman Jeff Harding, who owns Gulf Coast Pools.
– Biloxi: Five-term Republican incumbent A.J. Holloway faces Democrat Jess Kennedy, who describes himself as a Blue Dog Democrat trying to appeal to tea party voters. Holloway defeated Kennedy in 2009.
– Brookhaven: Republican Joe Cox, who owns an insurance business, faces independent D.W. Maxwell, who has served two terms as a Democrat on the board of aldermen. One-term Mayor Les Bumgarner, an independent, didn’t seek re-election.
– Clarksdale: Democrat Bill Luckett, an attorney and co-owner of Ground Zero Blues Club, faces Republican Angie Smith and two independents, Bradford Fair Sr., a computer technician, and Roger Weiner, a cardiologist and Coahoma County supervisor. Longtime Democratic Mayor Henry Espy did not seek re-election.
– Clinton: Republican Phil Fisher, a Hinds County supervisor, faces Democrat Rodney C. Carter, a minister who ran for mayor in 2009. Five-term Republican incumbent Rosemary Aultman did not seek re-election.
– Hattiesburg: Three-term Democratic incumbent Johnny DuPree, who was the 2011 Democratic nominee for governor, faces four independents: City Council member Dave Ware, perennial candidate Shawn O’Hara, community activist Nathan Jordan and landscaper Clyde Stewart.
– Laurel: Democrat Johnny Magee, a City Council member, faces independents Ken Keyes and Anthony Hudson. Two-term Democratic Mayor Melvin Mack did not seek re-election.
– Moss Point: Democrat Billy Broomfield, a state representative since 1992, faces two independents: Dobbs Dennis and John Mosley Jr. One-term Democratic incumbent Aneice Liddell was defeated in the party primary.
– Oxford: One-term Democratic incumbent George “Pat” Patterson faces independent Todd Wade.
– Pass Christian: Two-term Republican incumbent Leo “Chipper” McDermott faces Democrat Joseph Piernas Sr., who retired from the DuPont DeLisle plant, where he worked in human resources and safety. McDermott, who had been an alderman, was elected mayor in August 2006, nearly a year after Hurricane Katrina. He succeeded Bill McDonald, who resigned as mayor amid health problems.
– Tupelo: Republican Fred Pitts, a City Council member, faces Democrat Jason Shelton, an attorney. Republican incumbent Jack Reed Jr. did not seek re-election.
– Starkville: One-term Democratic incumbent Parker Wiseman faces Republican Dan Moreland, who’s chairman of the Starkville Parks Commission.
– Vicksburg: Democratic state Rep. George Flaggs faces independent Darryl Hollingsworth. One-term Democratic Mayor Paul Winfield was defeated in the party primary.