Municipal Elections

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 13, 2009

Dem sought to keep incumbent off ballot

By Rupert Howell

Batesville’s Municipal Democratic Executive Committee met March 9 and approved a slate of municipal candidates for the May 5 Democratic Primary, but not without controversy.

Chairman David L. Walker, who was elected to that position at the meeting, submitted to The Panolian a list of candidates and a news release that stated Panola County Democratic Executive Committee chairperson Mona T. Pittman, who also serves as the State Democratic Party Secretary, appeared before the committee to object to the certification of incumbent Ward 4 Alderman Bobbie Jean Pounders.

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According to the news release, Pittman claimed that Pounders had voted in the April 1, 2008, Republican Primary and cited the Constitution of the Democratic Party of the State of Mississippi  provision that disqualifies Democrat candidates who have participated in primaries other than Democrat within the past year, or run for office in such primaries, to be certified by the committee.

According to the release signed by Walker, “…this provision is vague in that it is not specific as to when the one year commences. Ms. Pounders would not have participated in a Republican primary election within one year from the May 5, 2009, Democratic primary.

The press release then stated, “Therefore, she should be certified.”

Walker also stated that not certifying Pounders as a Democrat would assure that Ward 4 would be represented by a Republican as only two Republicans have qualified for the position other than Pounders.

According to the release, Pittman rejected Walker’s reasoning on the basis that candidates who vote for Republicans are not welcome as Democratic Party candidates.

The other slate of Democrats certified for the May 5 primary include: mayor, Jerry Autrey; alderman-at-large, Teddy Morrow; Ward 1, Cheryl James; Ward 2, Rufus Manley and Ted Stewart and Pounders in Ward 4.

The Democratic Party Municipal Executive Committee consists of Willie King Jr., Anne F. Walker and Chairman Walker.

Walker has previously served two terms as co-chairman of the Panola County Democratic Executive Committee and has served on the city committee for the past four years.

The committee reported a treasury surplus for the upcoming summer general elections and plans a “meet the candidates reception” in the next few weeks at City Hall.