On Tuesday, May 6, Natchez residents will have an opportunity to express their opinions about the future of our City. In contrast to many other elections, the outcome of this one really will make a difference.
There are no Republican primaries. There are Democratic primaries for Mayor and 5 of the 6 Wards. The Ward 3 Alderperson will not be decided until the General Election on June 3, when voters will choose between the Democrat Gwen Ball and the Republican Bob Pollard.
I bet almost everybody knows who's running for Mayor: the incumbent Democrat Phillip West, Democrat Jake Middleton, and Independent Chick Graning. However, not everyone may know that the only choice on Tuesday is between West and Middleton. The winner will run against Graning in the General Election. I have no idea who will win this race on Tuesday, but I bet the turnout is high. It will be no secret to readers of this blog that I am no fan of West, and I intend to vote for Middleton.
Ward 1 votes at the City Council Chambers across from City Hall on South Pearl Street. There are four Democrats running: Incumbent Joyce Arceneaux Mathis, Paul Johnson, Jim Sanders, and Sonya Anderson Mars (whom I've never seen and she may have dropped out). If you read what I wrote about this race, you know I'm a member of the ABA Club - Anyone But Arceneaux. This is my Ward, and I haven't had an Alderperson for years. I beg you to please vote for Johnson or Sanders.
Ward 2 votes at Frazier Primary School on G F West Boulevard. There are three Democrats running: Incumbent Ricky Gray, Larry Hooper, and Johnny Franklin. I also wrote about this race. Although I've never seen him, Hooper looks like a good choice, mainly because I would like to see a whole new Board.
Ward 3 votes at the Elks Lodge on Lower Woodville Road, but only for Mayor, since there are no primaries.
Ward 4 votes at United Rubber Workers Union Hall on Gayosa Avenue. There are three Democrats running: Incumbent Bubber West, Tony Fields, and Donnell Newsome. Although all have their strengths, my definite favorite is Tony Fields, as you can tell from my article about this race.
Ward 5 votes at National Guard Armory on Liberty Road. Incumbent David Massey is retiring, and there are three Democrats running in the Primary: Frances Bailey, Mark Fortenberry, and Tim Session. They all look good to me. The winner will face Republican Charles Zuccaro in the General Election.
Ward 6 votes at the Duncan Park Canteen. Incumbent Jake Middleton is running for Mayor, so there is a vacancy. This is the only race that will definitely be decided on Tuesday, since there is no Republican and only two Democrats running. I prefer Dan Dillard over Forest Foster, because his professional experience would bring much needed knowledge to the Board.
If you don't know what Ward you are in, this map might help.
Keep your voting shoes on, because there may be runoffs in Wards 1, 2, 4, and 5 - and in only two weeks on Tuesday, May 20.