Two-man race: Pitts vs. Shelton

By Robbie Ward/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – With the qualifying deadline passing Friday to file in this year’s city elections, the two candidates seeking the mayor’s office will not have opposition until the June general election.
City Council President Fred Pitts, a Republican, will have no opponent in the May 7 primary but will face attorney Jason Shelton, a Democrat, in the June 4 general election. Incumbent Mayor Jack Reed Jr. did not seek re-election.
Pitts, 70, a small business owner, formally announced his intention to seek the city’s top elected office in November and has appeared in the community ever since wearing a red and white “Pitts for Tupelo” button. He said having no opponent in the primary election won’t delay him from asking voters to support his campaign.
“We want to carry our message to the citizens of Tupelo in any way we can during the next few months,” he said. “We’re ready to meet the public and talk about our plans for the future and emphasize the experience and leadership ability I’ve showed on the council.”
During each year of his one term as councilman, Pitts served as president. He said his campaign will focus on continuing to improve city services and Tupelo’s appearance and advancing economic development.
While Tupelo hasn’t elected a Democrat as mayor since the administration of James N. Caldwell three decades ago, Shelton said his energy and determination will buck the GOP trend.
“There’s not a Republican or Democratic way to fix a pothole,” said Shelton, 36,who filed papers to run on Monday. “I’m not running to change the city’s politics. I’m running because I’m passionate about the city and we need a new round of leadership.”
Shelton said he would focus on quality of life issues in the community that will “make Tupelo too good to leave,” aiming to recruit and retain more “young, working families” to the area.
Incumbent Ward 7 Councilman Willie Jennings, a Democrat, is the only candidate without a primary or general election opponent. Most of the other council races will be decided in the primary elections.
This week, two additional candidates for City Council seats filed to run. In Ward 3, Melony Armstrong qualified as a Democrat to face the winner of the Republican primary between incumbent Jim Newell and challenger Liz Dawson.
James Matkin also filed this week to face incumbent Nettie Y. Davis and Mark A. Hardin in the Democratic primary.
In Ward 1, incumbent Markel Whittington, a Republican, will face Daniel Owens in the primary.
For the open seat currently occupied by Pitts in Ward 2, Republicans Lynn Bryan and Tom Carr will face off in the primary.
In Ward 5, Buddy Palmer will challenge incumbent Jonny Davis in the Republican primary.
The race with the most candidates, Ward 6, has incumbent Mike Bryan facing Tom Hewitt, Wayne Chrestman and James Jenkins.

Candidate fields set in Lee County Municipal Elections.
The deadline for candidates to qualify for municipal elections passed Friday.Municipal positions in Nettleton, Baldwyn and Shannon won’t be decided in the general election.
Since all candidates qualified as Democrats, they will all run in the Democratic primary on May 7. There will be no party primary in Verona,
Plantersville, Sherman and Guntown since all municipal candidates qualified as independents.
The general election is June 4.Here are the qualifiers. An asterisk denotes incumbents:

Party primaries will be held May 7. One mayoral candidate and five aldermen from each party will advance to the general election.

Steve Brooks – D
Daniel Jennings – D
Rex Smith – R
Paul Turner – R
Jonathan Parham – D
Billy Flanagin – D
Jewell Webb* – D
Danny McCarley – D
Terry Glidewell* – D
Wayne Dixon – D
Donald Cullum – R
Scott Knight* – R
Craig Sanders – R
Brad Woodcock* – R
Steve Malone – R
Brett Pearce – R
Heath Gobbell – R

All qualified asindependents.
Robert Trice
Bobby Williams*
Alderman Ward 1
Eddie Tucker*
Alderman Ward 2
Margaret Baker*
Alderman Ward 3
Jessie Gilmore*
Alderman Ward 4
Julian Riley*
Alderman at large
Brenda Spurgon*

All candidates qualified as Democrats.
R.V. Adams*
Jimmy Taylor
Police chief
AD Heard
Paul Garrett
Charles Mullens
Billy Holey
City clerk
Dana Burcham*
Parker Thornton
Beverly Hester
Alderman at large
Kirk Lindsey*
Mem Riley
Alderman Ward 1
Mike Fulco
Charles Morris*
Alderman Ward 2
Mark Burroughs
Gail Senter*
GC Rhudy
Alderman Ward 3
Iry L. Gladney
Marty Langley
Alderman Ward 4
Larry Guess*
Jerry Rakestraw

All candidates qualified as Democrats.
Ronnie Hallmark*
Willie Bob Gates
Bill Curtis
Alderman at large
Carl Trice*
Alderman Ward 1
Brian Thompson*
Alderman Ward 2
Joy McCord*
Debbie Johnson
Alderman Ward 3
Dan Garrett
James Oswalt
Lucie Blair
Jack Ivy
Alderman Ward 4
Paul Lyles*

All candidates qualified as Democrats.
Michael James*
Jim Grisham
Roslynn Clark Copeland
City clerk
Nan Nanney*
Police chief
Nickey Owen
Troy Agnew
Don Rowan*
Chris Barnett
Jim Bishop
Greg Mitchell
Jimmy Waters
Alderman at large
Jason McKay*
Alderman Ward 1
Virginia Grice*
Tony Welch
Steve Scales
Lee Bowdry
Alderman Ward 2
Tom Nelson*
Alderman Ward 3
Richard Kohlheim*
Barbara Tyes Lee
Alderman Ward 4
Shelaine Pennington
Ricky Massengill

All independents.
Gloria Holland*
Harold Arrington
Renee Morris*
Chink Freeman
Charles Dale Heard
Sextus Shannon*
Vicki Rigby*
Ketrick Marion*

All candidates qualified as independents.
Ben Logan*
Martha Swindle*
Wayne Bullock *
Ann Simmons*
Jessie McBride
Mike Swords
Randy Bolen
Todd McDonald*

All candidates qualified as independents.
Bob Davis
Gary E. (Bud) Herring
Terry Robbins
Petey J. Hopkins*
Chad McMahan
Greg Caigle*
George (Mickey)
Jeff Herring*
Brent (Squirrel) Lindsey
Paula Jean Barnett

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