Monday Marked Start Of Qualifying For City Offices
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WATER VALLEY – The qualifying period for city offices in most Mississippi municipalities including Water Valley, Oakland and Coffeeville started Monday and extends until Feb. 5. While no candidates have filed qualifying paperwork at presstime in Water Valley, Mayor Donald Gray told the Herald Monday afternoon he is strongly considering running for a second term.
“I have enjoyed it, most of it,” Gray reported. “We are always looking down the road on things we can do, we are trying to bring some retail businesses here and talking to some pretty good prospects,” the mayor added.
Even with a global pandemic, Gray noted sales tax collected in the city has increased in 2020. “We have been blessed.”
The party primaries are scheduled on Tuesday, April 6, and primary runoffs, if needed, are scheduled on Tuesday, April 27. The general election is scheduled Tuesday, June 8.
Candidates who plan to run with a party identification must submit qualifying papers to the city clerk’s office and pay a $10 fee. Candidates who plan to run without a party affiliation as an independent must submit a qualifying statement of intent to the city clerk’s office along with a qualifying petition signed by at least 50 registered voters of the municipality or ward from which the candidate seeks office.
Traditionally most candidates in Water Valley have run on the Democratic ticket in city elections, including the 2017 election in which all prevailing candidates (five aldermen and the mayor) ran on the Democratic ticket. The upcoming city election may provide insight into what could be a changing political landscape after more independent candidates emerged during the 2019 county election cycle.
Two independent candidates were elected to county offices in 2019 – Trent Howell won the justice court seat in District 2 and Mark D. Fulco won the sheriff’s seat, although Fulco’s win was contested and a special election is scheduled on February 23.
The 2019 primaries also saw an uptick in Republican voters as 540 voters in the county, or 11.75 percent of the total votes cast in both the Republican and Democratic primaries, opted to vote on the Republican ticket. The increase in Republican voters came as there were no locally contested races on the Republican ballot. The increase was credited to strongly contested statewide Republican primaries including a three-way race for governor as well as less local affiliation with the Democratic party.
In previous years all candidates seeking city slots in Oakland and Coffeeville qualified as independent candidates, which means there are no party primaries.