Published 12:00 am Friday, February 18, 2011

Tax assessor gets primary opponent

By Billy Davis

Batesville resident Brad Baker qualified late Thursday to seek the county public office of tax assessor/collector.

Circuit Clerk Joe Reid said Baker’s qualifying papers were the only papers received this week, since Jason Crestman qualified to run for a justice court judge post.

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The deadline to qualify is March 1.

Baker, a longtime real estate agent, will seek to unseat longtime incumbent David Garner, who has already qualified for re-election.

Both Garner and Baker qualified as Democrats and will meet in the August 2 party primary.

Baker is Garner’s only opponent so far.

The political contest for tax assessor/collector is one of several competitive races to date. Panola County supervisors Vernice Avant, Gary Thompson, Kelly Morris and Bubba Waldrup have each drawn at least one opponent.

Other county public officials who have drawn opposition so far are: Sheriff Otis Griffin, Circuit Clerk Joe Reid, Justice Court Judge Willie “Bill” Joiner, and Constable Raye Hawkins.

The circuit clerk race has drawn the most candidates so far since Reid is not expected to seek re-election.

Sheriff’s candidate Jimmy McCloud is the first candidate to authorize The Panolian to run a political announcement.

His announcement is running on page A11 of The Panolian today.

McCloud’s authorization also begins the listing of candidates that will run twice weekly in this newspaper until the elections are final.