Eight candidates qualify for Justice Court post 2/24/2015

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Eight candidates qualify for Justice Court post

By John Howell

(Editor’s note: The print version of this story and a the earlier version posted online incorrectly reported that District Two Constable candidate Earl Burdette had qualified as a Democrat. Burdette has qualified as an independent. The Panolian regrets the error.)

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The announcement of retirement by incumbent District Two Justice Court Judge Bill Joiner has apparently triggered a flurry of qualifiers who want his job.

Six new candidates for the post qualified last week, joining previously announced candidates Jason Crestman (D) and Terry Smith (D).

Chuck Tucker and James Weaver both qualified to run for the Justice Court Judge position as independents. They will face primary party primary winners November 3.

Four new candidates have qualified as Democrats: Donnie Shaw, Jay Johnson, Mike Wilkie and Ernie Capwell.

The six Democratic candidates will face each other — and any others who qualify by Friday’s deadline to run as Democrats— in the August 4 Democratic Primary Election.

Incumbent District One Justice Court Judge Mike Wilson remains unopposed for his post.
Other incumbent county officials seeking re-election yet without opposition are Tax Assessor/Collector David Garner, County Attorney Gaines Baker, Circuit Clerk Melissa Meek-Phelps, Coroner Gracie Gulledge and Chancery Clerk Jim Pitcock.

First District Constable Buck Harris is also unopposed in his bid for re-election.

Mark Whitten has qualified as a Democrat to seek the office of Sheriff. Incumbent Sheriff Dennis Darby said that he will seek re-election and former Sheriff Otis Griffin has said that he will seek to regain the post.

Incumbent District Two Constable Raye Hawkins has two challengers as he seeks re-election. Earl Albert Perkins will challenge Hawkins in the August 4 Democratic Primary. Earl Burdette has qualified as an independent and will meet with winner of the party primary(ies) in November.