By David Howell
WATER VALLEY – Absentee voters can cast their ballots until Saturday at noon at both courthouses in the county for the Democratic Primary Election on August 7.
Polls will open Tuesday from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. for the election at 11 precincts across Yalobusha. A day prior to the election, on August 6, there will be a public testing of voting machines at 6 p.m. at the Water Valley Courthouse.
All incumbents with the exception of Coroner Yolonda Holmes are seeking re-election next Tuesday, and many have tough competition. Three incumbents are unchallenged, Chancery Court Clerk Amy F. McMinn, County Prosecuting attorney Katharine Ward, and District One Constable Charlie Calder. All county candidates are running on the Democratic ticket.
One of the most talked-about races in the county is the quest for the county’s top law enforcement position. Five challengers will face off with Sheriff William Lance Humphreys who was appointed last October after former Sheriff Steve Shuffield resigned.
Two in the field are retired highway patrolmen, and another a retired park ranger and teacher. Former troopers Wayne Burns and Jamie Caldwell are each seeking to put their experience to work for Yalobusha County. Another lawman, Johnny Sossaman, lists his experience as ranging from working in the sheriff’s department to most recently working in Afghanistan.
A sixth candidate, Bruce Short, is running for two positions, sheriff and coroner. In his coroner bid, Short will face current Deputy Coroner Ronnie Stark who ran unsuccessfully four years ago.
Supervisor’s bids range from two races with two candidates to two races with four candidates.
One-term incumbent Tommy Vaughn is challenged by Mickey Hall in Beat One. In Beat Two, Steve Ross is going against incumbent Amos Sims, who serves as Board President.
In Beat Three, incumbent M.H. “Butch” Surrette is being challenged by John Lee McMinn, Keith Miller and Charles “Wobble” McCullough. Beat Four Supervisor George Suggs, who was elected four years ago, faces Leslie W. Doubleday and Freddie E. Winters. In Beat Five, incumbent supervisor Frank “Bubba” Tillman is challenged by David Duke, Terry L. Jones and Ray Schmitz, Jr.
Both Justice Court Judges face a challenger. Longtime Water Valley attorney Ben Horan is challenging Steve Riley who has served as District Two Justice Court Judge for six terms. District One Justice Court Judge Gary Tippit is challenged by William A. “Billy” Morgan.
Incumbent Tax Assessor/ Collector Linda Rae Shuffield faces Peggy Brown on August 7. The final race on the county side of the ballot will be for District Two Constable. Incumbent Randy Simmons faces Susan Taylor.