Primary Will Settle City Races
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WATER VALLEY – Voters in Water Valley will go the polls Tuesday to cast their ballot in the Democratic Primary. There are 10 candidates and three contested races on the ballot, including the bid for mayor with incumbent Donald Gray and Terry Rockette competing for the city’s top elected position. The race is a rematch from a special election in 2018, when Gray won with 64 percent of the votes. Gray was previously elected alderman-at-large three times before running for mayor in the special election following a vacancy in the position.
Rockette ran for mayor in the 2017 Democratic Primary, losing in a runoff by 66 votes.
In Ward One, political newcomers Lloyd Leland Caulfield and Ron Hart are on the ticket.
In the third contested race, Ward Two incumbent Fred White, McKendrick Pawfene Bounds and Freddie Folson are on the ballot. White narrowly defeated Folson in the 2017 Democratic Primary, winning by nine votes. The Ward Two race is the only one on the ballot that may not be settled in Tuesday’s primary. If one of the candidates does not receive a majority of the votes cast, the top two vote-getters will advance to a runoff on April 27.
Candidates who are unopposed on the ballot include Herbie Rogers for alderman-at-large, Bonnie Cox for Ward 3 Alderman and Nicole Folson for Ward Four Alderman.
Absentee voting will continue at city hall until Saturday at noon, the deadline to cast an in-person absentee ballot.
The polls will be open at the four precincts from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Municipal voting precincts are located at the following locations:
Ward One – Electric Department on Gore Circle;
Ward Two – Yalobusha County courthouse;
Ward Three – Water Valley fire and police department; and
Ward Four – Water Valley City Auditorium on Main Street.
With no Republican or independent candidates qualifying in the city, the Democratic Primary will settle all of the positions in Water Valley.
The General Election for most Mississippi municipalities is scheduled June 8. In Coffeeville, all 11 candidates who qualified for municipal offices are running as independents and will be on the General Election ballot.
In the mayor’s race, incumbent William Shelton, Jr. and Bryan McCullough are on the ballot. For alderman-at-large, incumbent Donald “Duck” Hayes will face Reginald Nicholson. In Ward One, Rhonda Spearman is unopposed. In Ward Two, incumbent Anthony Matthews and Sonya Murray are on the ballot. In Ward Three, Robert E. Brewer and Marcia Stark are competing. In Ward Four, incumbent Mike Ayers, Sr. will face Dewitt Moody.
In Oakland, all candidates are also running as independents and will be on the June 8 ballot. In the mayor’s race, incumbent James Riley Swearengen will face Terry D. Crowder. Alderman candidates include incumbents Joe Willie Jenkins, Sr., Sharonda Jones, Terry Ellis, Marzet Bland and George Booker. Other candidates running for aldermen include Stacy McKinley, Stephanie Patterson and Lezelrick Hodges.
Aldermen in Oakland do not represent wards, and the top five vote-getters in the field of eight candidates will take office.
The deadline to register to vote in the general elections in Oakland and Coffeeville is Monday, May 10.