By Terri Ferguson Smith / email@example.com
The Meridian Star
A new councilman will represent voters in Ward Five in Meridian following party primaries on Tuesday, but in at least one other ward, absentee ballots, which were still being counted at press time, may make a difference. Nearly 31 percent of voters in the city cast ballots.
In Ward Five, incumbent Republican Bobby Smith was unseated by challenger Randy Hammon.
Hammon will face Democratic challenger John Harris, who was unopposed in the primary.
Cheri Barry will face challenger Percy Bland in the general election for mayor of Meridian.
Barry, the incumbent, handily defeated William Bond Compton in the Republican primary on Tuesday.
"I am so grateful and so thankful for all our voters and supporters that I've had today," Barry said. "We've worked so hard for the last four months. Tomorrow is a new day and we look forward to continuing to move the city forward."
Barry said she will continue her duties as mayor during the day while campaigning in the evenings and on weekends. She said she has enjoyed meeting with constituents and finding out what their needs and wants are. She also had words for her opponent.
"I would like to congratulate Percy Bland on his nomination," Barry said. "I look forward to a good clean race for the general election."
In the Democratic primary, Bland defeated Rod Amos in the race for mayor.
"I want to thank them for their support. We need one more day like today. We will continue to get our message out," Bland said. "I want to have as many debates as we can with the current mayor. I just want to talk to people and to continue canvassing the neighborhoods and talking to the people of Meridian."
He wished Barry well with her campaign.
"Congratulations to the mayor for her victory," Bland said. "I look forward to spirited debates."
Independent candidates Wally Hudnall and Walter Patton will also be on the general election ballot for mayor.
Runoffs will be held in Ward Two and Ward Four, both held by Democrats who had a slate of challengers.
A runoff will be held in Ward Two where incumbent Mary A.B. Perry is expected to face Kenneth Dustin Markham, the top vote-getter in the primary.
There were no Republicans seeking the office of Ward Two council.
Absentee ballots may make the difference in Ward Four, where either incumbent Democrat Jesse E. Palmer Sr. or Craig Houston will face Kim Houston in the runoff. Kim Houston received the most votes of the four candidates in the primary.
There were no Republicans seeking the office of Ward Four council, but there is an independent, Thomas Everett Hopson.
Republican incumbent candidate George M. Thomas was unopposed in the Ward One primary. Democrat challenger Martin M. Jack was also unopposed in the primary so the two be on the ballot for the general election.
Incumbent Republican Barbara Henson was unopposed by either party in Ward Three.
Runoff elections will be held May 21; the general election is June 4.
City of Meridian municipal election primary results
Percy Bland - 3,861 votes
Rod Amos - 541 votes
Cheri Barry - 2,202 votes
William Bond Compton - 123 votes
Democrat, City Council Ward 2
Kenneth Dustin Markham - 396
Mary Perry - 305
Nathaniel Pringle Jr. - 209
Terry L. Stennis 67
Democrat, City Council Ward 4
Kim Houston - 465 votes
Craig Houston - 307 votes
Jessie Palmer - 295 votes
John Nelson Jr. - 50 votes
Republican, City Council Ward 5
Randy Hammon - 310 votes
Bobby Smith - 190 votes
Editor's note: Absentee ballots were not counted as of press time Tuesday night and are not reflected in the vote totals.