By David Howell
WATER VALLEY – Months of politicking will culminate next Tuesday in the primaries as the polls open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. at 11 precincts across Yalobusha.
All incumbents, with the exception of Beat Three Supervisor M.H. “Butch” Surrette and County Prosecuting Attorney J.K. Ward, are seeking re-election next Tuesday and many face tough competition.
Another seat, District One Constable, is also open after incumbent Charles Calder passed away earlier this year.
Four incumbents are unopposed, Tax Assessor /Collector Linda Shuffield, Circuit Clerk Daryl Burney, District Two Constable Randy Simmons and Beat Five Supervisor Frank “Bubba” Tillman.
The race for the sheriff’s badge is one of the most talked about contests, with six candidates challenging incumbent Lance Hum-phreys.
The candidates include Columbus Buford, Jr., Luther Folson, William Beard, Tommy Lindsey, Russ Smith and Jamie Caldwell.
Humphreys and Caldwell led a six way ticket for sheriff four years ago, advancing to a runoff. Humphreys carried the runoff with 59 percent of the votes. Caldwell is a retired trooper currently works as a Water Valley police officer.
Smith, the Oakland Police Chief, is running as an independent and will be on the November ballot.
Supervisors’ bids include three races with two candidates, while Beat Three has attracted four candidates with the retirement of Surrette. Kenny Goolsby, Lee McMinn, Henry Johnson and Bailey Walker are running to succeed Surrette.
In Beat One, two-term incumbent Tommy Vaughn is challenged by Larry Townes. In Beat Two, Shadwick Daniels is going against incumbent Amos Sims. Incumbent George Suggs will face Eddie Harris in Beat Four.
Another hot race in the county is the bid for Chancery Clerk. Three-term incumbent Amy F. McMinn is challenged by Donald Gray.
Both incumbent justice court judges face competition. In the First Judicial District, incumbent Gary Tippit, will face Janet Ross Caulder. Eight-term incumbent Steve Riley faces Larry Lawler in the August 2 Primary for the Second Judicial District Justice Court Judge. Trent Howell is running as an independent and will face the winner of the primary in November.
With the retirement of County Prosecuting Attorney J.K. Ward, three attorneys qualified for this post. David Burns and Daniel Martin, both of Water Valley, and Gail Birdsong Barton of Oakland are competing for this position.
Another local race on the ballot is for coroner, with Wanda Smith running against incumbent Ronnie Stark.
The final race, drawing six competitors, is for District One Constable. Four Democrats are competing in the Primary – Brent And-erson, Ralph Byford, Terry Ellis and Marvin Horton. The winner of the Primary will face Republican Carl Ray Parker and independent Stella Townes in the November General Election.