Qualifying period for County elections ends; updated list provided

Published 5:16 pm Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Panola County’s potential candidates for elected office are somewhat clearer now that the qualifying period has ended.

The candidates must now be certified, a process that is relatively simple and barring any unknown information all of the candidates listed below will be on the August primary of November general election.

The following is the unofficial list as of 5 p.m. at the Batesville Courthouse in the Circuit Clerk’s Office:

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Sheriff: John Lantern (D), Greg Draper (D), Shane Phelps (D), Dennis Darby (I), and Otis Griffin (I).

Tax Assessor/Collector: O’dell Draper, Jr., (D), Bill Harmon (D), and David Garner (I). Draper beat longtime Assessor/Collector Garner four years ago for the office.

Chancery Clerk: Justin Pope (D), Katie Ragon (I), John David Bailey (I), Melvin Tucker (I), and  Jamie Rose (I). Ragon is the incumbent, having been appointed by the Board of Supervisors to fill the remaining term of Jim Pitcock, who retired last summer.

Circuit Clerk: Hollie Roberson (I), Michael Price (D), and Incumbent Melissa Meek-Phelps (D).

Supervisor Dist. 1: James Birge (D), Fred Ira Butts (D), Jessie Lyons (D), and Kaleb Foshee (I). Birge is the most senior member of the Board of Supervisors and serves as Vice President.

Supervisor Dist. 2: Earl Burdette (D), Timothy Holliday (D), and Roger Salter (D). Burdette is the incumbent.

Supervisor Dist. 3: Lindsey Sanford, Jr., (I),  John Thomas (R), John McCollum (R) , and Ken Williams (R). Thomas, the incumbent, originally signed up to run Independent, but changed his qualification at 4:55 p.m. to Republican. The Republican Primary in that district will be familiar for voters in that Thomas has fended off challenges from McCollum and Williams in two previous elections.

Supervisor Dist. 4: Chad Weaver (I), Charles Roach (I), and Mike Woods (R). Weaver is the incumbent in the district, a seat he won four years ago after the retirement of Donald Phelps.

Supervisor Dist. 5: Ted Stewart (D) and Cole Flint (I). Flint is the incumbent and has served three terms as the President of the board.

County Attorney: Gaines Baker (D) is the current office holder and is not opposed.

Constable Post. 1: Faye Pettis (D) and Coda Medlin (I). Pettis is the incumbent and has held the post two terms.

Constable Post 2: Maurice Market (D), Jamie Snider (I), and Rusty Woods (I). Market ran for the seat four years ago and was beaten by Dennis Darby, who is running for sheriff.

Coroner: Troy Smith (I), Deven Towns (I), and Christopher Gulledge, Jr., (I). Longtime coroner Gracie Grant-Gulledge recently announced her retirement and is campaigning for her son to take over the office.

Election Commission Dist. 2 – Deitrick Johnson and Incumbent Brenda Rucker. Rucker won a special election to fill the remaining of Julius Harris, who retired last summer.

Election Commission Dist. 4 – Incumbent Wanda Carmichael is unopposed

South Panola School Board Dist. 2 – La’Keldra Pride

Justice Court Judges Mike Wilson (D) and Michael Darby (I) are also seeking re-election in Districts 1 and 2 respectively. Neither had drawn an opponent as of Tuesday noon.

The candidates will now have their applications reviewed by the Panola County Election Commission or the Executive Committees of the Democratic and Republican Parties.

Primary elections for the Democrats and Republicans will be Aug. 8 and the general election will be Nov. 7.

Candidates must win a majority of the votes in a party primary to advance to the general, or if no candidate wins 50 percent plus one vote, there will be a runoff election on Aug. 29.

In the general election there are no runoffs for county offices, except for Election Commission and School Board of Trustees races.

Statewide races can have general election runoffs.