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Candidate List Grows To Four In Mayor’s Race

Political signs are already popping up across town as candidates jockey for votes in the special election for mayor. The election will be held in December.

By David Howell


WATER VALLEY – Another candidate has emerged as a contender for mayor in a special election planned in December for the city’s top elected position. Donald Gray told the Herald Monday afternoon he will run. 

Gray’s announcement follows pushes the field to four candidates who have publicly announced they plan to seek the vacated seat after Mayor Larry Hart steps down on November 3.  Mickey Howley, Terry Rockette and Herbert Rogers have also told the Herald they plan to run for mayor. Gray currently serves as alderman-at-large and was recently elected to a third term.  Rockette and Rogers both ran unsuccessfully in the May primary against Hart for mayor. Howley currently serves as the director of the Water Valley Main Street Association, a position he has held for eight year.

The actual qualifying period will not start until next month after the office is vacated. Aldermen will have 10 working days after Nov. 3 to enter an order declaring the seat vacant. The order must also include the date of the election, which must be not less than 30 days nor more than 45 days after the date on which is the order is adopted. This would mean the election will be in mid-December, likely on Dec. 19.

Candidates can start qualifying after the election date is set. The deadline to qualify will be 20 days before the date of the election. Candidates will be required to gather 50 names to qualify for the non-partisan election. If no candidate wins a majority of the votes, a runoff will be necessary. 

Hart submitted a letter to City Clerk Vivian Snider on Sept. 29 stating that he will retire on Nov. 3. The letter was read at the end of a lengthy city board meeting on Oct. 3 by Snider after Hart did not attend the meeting.

“Dear Mrs. Clerk, please accept this letter as my notice of retirement for position as mayor for the City of Water Valley effective Nov. 3, 2017. I will be available to you and the vice-mayor during the transition. I plan to devote more time to my children, grand children and my businesses,” Hart wrote in the letter.

Hart’s resignation comes three months in the current term, which started in July. He has served five terms as mayor and one term as alderman. 

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