Municipal election candidates certified

The qualifying period for candidates seeking office in May’s municipal election in the City of Columbia ended at 5 p.m. last Friday, March 3.

However, each party completed certification of its candidates late Thursday afternoon, officially setting the ballot for the May 2 Primary Election.

According to Republican Executive Committee Chair for municipal elections Danon Jones Vest, the candidate certification process went well.

“Everything went very smoothly,” she said late Thursday afternoon. “I want to thank the Marion County Sheriff’s Office for their cooperation and help during the process in a timely manner.”

Her counterpart in the Democratic Committee, Bonnie M. Dillon, was equally pleased and appreciative.

“Everything went great,” she said.

Candidates for mayor include former mayor Reed Houston, Justin W. McKenzie and Harry Griffith, all of which are running as Republicans. Democratic candidates include Glen McKenzie and Calvin “Scope” Newsome.

According to qualifying documents obtained from City Hall, Richard Lokey, who planned to run for mayor in the Republican Primary, and Gerald W. Mingo, who was planning to run for mayor as a Democrat, both withdrew from the election last week. Lokey withdrew on Feb. 27, and Mingo took his name out of the hat on March 2.

Current Mayor Robert Bourne is not seeking re-election.

Republican incumbent Alderman at Large Edward Hough will be pitted against Democratic challenger Chris Brumfield in the June 6 General Election.

Incumbent Ward 1 Alderman Wendell Hammond, a Democrat, is the only elected official that doesn’t have a challenger.

In Ward 2, Tyler L. Berry, Mike Kuykendall, Robert “Booger” Sandifer and Jason Stringer are running on the Republican ticket. No democratic candidate qualified. Current Ward 2 Alderwoman Cheryl Bourne is not seeking re-election.

Ward 3 incumbent Alderwoman Renee’ Galloway, a Democrat, will face off against Anna Martin Evans. No Republican candidate qualified.

Alderwoman Gwendolyn Hammond, Democratic incumbent in Ward 4, will face either Republican Todd Pittman, former alderman for Ward 4, or Republican Mike Smith, who will face each other in the Primary.

Republican Executive Committee candidates include Danon Jones Vest, John Sabine, April Cook, Mark P. Vest, Ann Atkinson Simmons and Ernest A. Buhrer.

Democratic Executive Committee candidates include Tawanda Ball, Bonnie M. Dillon, Tabitha Nelson, Doree A. Plowman and Lena Thompson.

If a run-off is necessary, it will be held on May 16.

Republican and Democratic Party executive committees will assist with the election as the primaries are run by the parties. The city’s election commissioners will oversee the General Election. According to the Secretary of State’s Office, all candidates must meet the following additional requirements to qualify for office:

• Qualified elector (registered voter) of the State of Mississippi in the municipality of the office for which the candidate seeks election;

• Never have been convicted of bribery, perjury or other infamous crime, being defined as a crime punishable by confinement in the penitentiary (unless the candidate received a full pardon);

• Never have been convicted of a felony in federal court after Dec, 8, 1992, nor of a crime in the court of another state, which is a felony in this state, after Dec. 8, 1992, as provided in Section 44 of the Mississippi Constitution.

For more on how to qualify for the municipal election, visit the Mississippi Secretary of State’s Web site as