August 2 First

Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 24, 2011

By Billy Davis

Jobs and education. Education and jobs.

They all said much the same thing, basically, when candidates for House District 10 and Senate District 10 spoke at the Square Market in Batesville Wednesday afternoon.

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 But there’s a dilemma for the candidates. They need people to vote in their primary.

Mississippi allows crossover votes in party primaries, meaning a registered Democrat or registered Republican can vote in the other party’s primary.

That is often the case in county elections, where incumbents and their challengers typically run as Democrats, thought it also means the voter must return to the same party in the case of a runoff.

That’s the case in Panola County, too, where five supervisors races, and races for sheriff and circuit clerk among others, include candidates seeking the Democrat nomination.

 “I think a lot of people don’t know yet that they’ll have to choose one of the two,” said Republican Doug Jones, who is seeking the House seat.

Jones is competing for Republican nomination along with Sen. Nolan Mettetal, who is not seeking re-election to the District 10 senate seat this year after serving four terms.

Jones lives in the Mt. Olivet community and is employed by Dunlap and Kyle in Batesville.

Mettetal, of Sardis, was a pharmacist when he was elected to the Mississippi Senate.  

Democrat state Rep. Warner McBride did not seek re-election to the House seat either, setting up the current race for an open seat in the state House of Representatives.  

Two more Democratic candidates, Jordan Bankhead and Gregg Hodges, will also be on the August 2 ballot.

Bankhead, who lives in Lafayette County, is an attorney and adjunct professor at Ole Miss. He also owns a commercial park between Batesville and Oxford.  

Hodges resides in the Teasdale community in Tallahatchie County, where he formerly served as a county supervisor. He said Wednesday he is retired after selling two businesses.

The House District 10 seat includes much of Panola County and portions of Lafayette and Tallahatchie counties.  

 “I knew going in it would be low numbers (in the primary),” said Mettetal.

Mettetal said he’s hopeful that Republican primaries for governor and lieutenant governor, and for state treasurer, will bring Republican voters to the polls.

“I haven’t put a lot of thought into it,” said Mettetal. “I respect people’s rights to choose. A lot of people have made commitments to candidates and I understand that.”  

Panola voters, if they choose the Democratic primary ballot, will also see the District 10 senate race on the ballot. That ballot will show two Tate County names, Michael Cathey and Steve Hale.

Cathey is a minister and said Wednesday he has business experience after owning Subway franchises.

Hale is a former alderman and mayor in Senatobia, where he now oversees the Tate County Planning Commission.

The winner of the Democratic Primary will face Republican Vann Branch of Pope, who did not draw a primary opponent.