Last weekend to politick before municipal elections
By David Howell
and Billy Davis
Politicking will come to a head next Tuesday when voters go to the polls for races in most of Panola County’s municipalities.
In Batesville, second-term Mayor Jerry Autrey is fending off a challenge from fellow Democratic candidates Brad Baker and Rufus Manley to move to the General Election.
Baker is the son of former mayor Bobby Baker. Manley served as alderman before he lost his re-election bid four years ago.
There is only one alderman race on the primary ballot. Incumbent Stan Harrison is facing challenger Wayne Reed.
In Sardis, three candidates are seeking the town’s top elected position. Incumbent Rusty Dye faces Billy Russell and Lula Palmer. All three are running on the Democratic ticket. Palmer currently serves as Ward 3 alderman.
Incumbent Alderman-at-Large Roy Scallorn will be back on the ballot against political newcomer Vic Henson. In Ward 1, another longtime alderman, JoJo Still, will face Rogers Smith.
In Ward 2, incumbent Clarence “BooBoo” Jones faces brothers Madison Smith and Rufus Smith. Madison is running as an independent and will not be on next Tuesday’s ballot. The winner of Tuesday’s primary election between Jones and Rufus Smith will face Madison Smith in the June general election. Rufus Smith is a former Ward 2 alderman.
In Ward 3, two political newcomers, Michael Price and Bonnie Smith, are competing for the position vacated by Palmer.
Ward 4 incumbent Rivers McArthur faces Tommy Rayburn and Jim Hardin.
In Como, incumbent Everett Hill will face Mike Sumner, the husband of Hill’s predecessor, the late Judy Sumner. Both are running as Democrats and will appear on next Tuesday’s ballot.
The bid for alderman-at-large will not be settled next Tuesday, as candidate John Walton is the sole Democrat candidate. Walton will face independent candidate Mark Lipscomb in the June general election.
In Ward 1, incumbent Clark Gregory will face Tonia Heard in a repeat from years earlier.
Like the alderman-at-large seat, the race for Ward 2 will also be settled in the general election next month with independent candidate Dr. Forster Ruhl facing Rachel Powell. Incumbent Bill Mitchell did not seek re-election, and Ruhl qualified to run in this position instead of his current seat as alderman-at-large.
In Ward 3 and Ward 4, both incumbents Ruby Higgenbottom and Teresa Dishmon are unopposed.
Seven candidates in Como qualified for the Democratic Executive Committee. The candidates include Chris Matthews, Mary Armstrong, Lisa Power Cobbs, Mary Jane Hollis, Kacki Mitchell, Arilla Kerney and Melvin Crockett.
In Crenshaw, incumbent mayor Oscar Barlow is challenged by Phyllis Sanford.
In Ward 2, Jerry Mayo is the sole qualifier.
In Ward 3, incumbent Alberta Bradley is running against Marco Going and Corey Patterson.
In Ward 4, Wardell Reed is the sole qualifier.
In Ward 5 former mayor Sylvester Reed and Catherine Phipps are on the ballot.
City halls will be open Saturday until noon, the deadline to cast an absentee ballot in the races.
The polls won't open in the Pope and Courtland municipalities until the June 4 General Election.
See sample Batesville ballot, page A8.