Batesville Municipal Elections

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 20, 2009

Batesville alderman switches to GOP

By Billy Davis

Batesville alderman Bill Dugger has qualified to run as a Republican candidate in the upcoming municipal elections.

Dugger switched from the Democrat Party to the GOP in his qualifying papers, which he submitted last week to city hall. He was the final incumbent to do so.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

“I just feel more comfortable as a Republican. It fits me,” said Dugger, 66, who is seeking a fourth term for Batesville’s Ward 1 seat.

He has represented Ward 1 since 1997.

Dugger, in a phone interview, had little to say about the switch. He downplayed the role political parties play in Batesville city government.

“I wish we didn’t have to put anything down,” he said. “I really consider myself an independent, but that sort of puts you on an island all by yourself.”

Batesville Mayor Jerry Autrey and the remaining aldermen are registered as Democrat public officials.

In Batesville politics, the last candidate to carry the Republican banner was Glenn Mckittrick, who served one term during the 1970s.  

Dugger has not drawn an opponent in the Ward 1 race.

The deadline to qualify is March 6.

By running as a Republican candidate, Dugger would advance to the June 2 general election unless he draws a second Republican opponent. The primary contest is May 5.

Other alderman races in Batesville have shown no changes in recent weeks.

To date only incumbents Ward 3 Alderman Stan Harrison and Ward 2 Alderman Rufus Manley have drawn challengers. Percy Bruce is seeking the Ward 3 seat while Ted Stewart is seeking the Ward 2 seat.

In other alderman races across the county, Sardis Alderman Rufus Smith is the only incumbent there who has yet to qualify for office.

Sardis’s Ward 1 has already drawn candidates Ricky Armstrong and Clarence Jones.

In another Sardis match-up, former alderman-at-large John Reed has qualified to seek his former seat. The seat is currently held by Roy Scallorn, who narrowly defeated Reed in 2005. 

In Crenshaw, Ward 3 Alderman Alberta Bradley has drawn challenger Dennis Handy.

No changes have been reported at Como Town Hall, where candidates John Walton and Tonia Heard are seeking the alderman-at-large and Ward 1 positions respectively. Dr. Forster Ruhl and Clark Gregory, again respectively, are seeking to keep those positions.