Primaries to trim list of candidates by more than half

TUPELO – After a months-long campaign season, municipal candidates will get their first real test when voters make their choices Tuesday.
The primary election happens in two days, with a potential runoff scheduled May 19. As voters pick just one candidate per party in each of the eight races, more than half of the city’s 32 hopefuls will get eliminated. One race will be decided.
That race, in Ward 5, will end before the general election because each of the four candidates are running as Republicans. The winner will emerge in the first primary or the runoff.
Everyone else who remains will advance to the June 2 general election. No matter the outcome, City Hall will welcome a new mayor and at least two new City Council members at the start of the next municipal term in July.
The council also will shrink from nine to seven seats after a recent court ruling eliminated the two at-large positions. The ruling also redrew Wards 4 and 7 to include a larger number of minorities.
Of the two current at-large councilwomen, Carolyn Mauldin, will leave politics and Doyce Deas is running for mayor. Two council members also will step down: Dick Hill from Ward 1 and Smith Heavner of Ward 3.
Joining them is Mayor Ed Neelly, who was elected in 2005 and will leave office at the end of the municipal term, July 5.
Everyone else vying for one of the eight elected positions says they share at least one common goal – unity. Each of the candidates said they dislike the division and acrimony that’s plagued the current administration. And most have vowed to repair the damage with a more open and communicative atmosphere, if elected.

Contact Emily Le Coz at (662) 678-1588 or emily.lecoz@djournal.com.

Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal