By NEMS Daily Journal
Voters in many Northeast Mississippi municipalities will cast votes in party primaries today, with polls open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Others where all candidates run as independents will have to wait until the general election June 4.
In some cities and towns, the new slate of officials will be determined solely by the primaries since everyone in certain races is running as either a Democrat or Republican and there are no independent or third party candidates.
But in others, Democratic and Republican nominees selected in today’s primaries and any runoffs May 21 will run against each other, as well as any independent or third party candidates, in the general election.
Tupelo is a mixed bag. All council candidates will be selected in the party primaries since all races include just one party and there are no independent or third party candidates. But neither candidate for mayor, Republican Fred Pitts and Democrat Jason Shelton, has an opponent in his own party. Both will automatically move to a June 4 general election showdown without opposition and be the only competitive Tupelo race on that ballot.
Today in Tupelo, the City Council primary races are all in Republican primaries, except Ward 4, where the candidates are competing as Democrats. The races include:
• Ward 1 – Daniel Owens vs. incumbent Markel Whittington.
• Ward 2 – Lynn Bryan vs. Tom Carr for an open seat vacated by mayoral candidate Pitts.
• Ward 3 – Liz Dawson vs. incumbent Jim Newell.
• Ward 4 – Mark Hardin and James Matkin vs. incumbent Nettie Davis in the only Democratic primary race.
• Ward 5 – Buddy Palmer vs. incumbent Jonny Davis.
• Ward 6 – Tom Hewitt, Wayne Chrestman, James “Mickey” Jenkins against incumbent Mike Bryan.
Ward 7 incumbent Willie Jennings is unopposed.
Lee County municipalities with primary elections today include Saltillo, Shannon, Baldwyn and Nettleton. (See Page 10A for a list of candidates and polling places in these.)
Other Northeast Mississippi communities holding primaries today are Amory, Baldwyn, Booneville, Bruce, Ecru, Farmington, Fulton, Holly Springs, Houston, Mantachie, New Albany, Okolona, Oxford, Pontotoc, Ripley, Starkville and West Point.