Meridian Star

March 9, 2013

DOJ approves city’s ward lines in time for elections

By Terri Ferguson Smith / tsmith@themeridianstar.com
The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN —     The city of Meridian will have its June elections on new ward lines.

The Department of Justice notified the city on Friday that they would not object to the changes in ward lines, according to Ronnie Walton, city attorney.

    A redistricting plan was necessary after the 2010 census showed some shifts in population. A letter from DOJ to the city's redistricting consultant, Chris Watson, said the attorney general had no objection to the plan.

    Preclearance from DOJ of any changes that affect voting is necessary in Mississippi and several other states under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

    The letter from DOJ arrived on the last day that office-seekers had to qualify as candidates. At least one candidate had to withdraw from one ward and run in a different ward. Kim Houston originally challenged Barbara Henson, the incumbent Ward Three councilwoman, but under the new lines Houston lives in Ward Four, which is currently represented by Jesse Palmer.

    Walton said he has been informed by the Mississippi Secretary of State's office that any candidate affected by the last minute change in ward lines will be given a reasonable amount of time to change their candidacies, if necessary.

    As it stands now, there are eight candidates for mayor. The candidates for mayor and Meridian City Council are:



Mayor

Cheri Barry, (R) incumbent,

Rod Amos (D)

Percy Bland (D)

William Bond Compton Jr. (R)

Wally Hudnall (I)

Randle Jennings (D)

Doug Nichols  (I)

Walter L. Patton (I)



Council, Ward One

Brian Keith McCary (R)

George M. Thomas (R), incumbent

Martin M. Jack (D)

Ronnie Oberhaus Jr. (D)



Council Ward Two

Nathaniel Pringle Jr. (R)

Mary A.B. Perry (D) incumbent

Terry L. Stennis (D)

Kenneth Dustin Markham (D)



Council Ward Three

Barbara Henson, (R) incumbent



Council Ward Four

Jesse E. Palmer Sr. (D) incumbent

Craig E. Houston (D)

John R. Nelson Jr. (D)

Thomas Everett Hopson (I)

Kim Houston (D)



Council Ward Five

Randy Hammon (R)

John C. Harris (D)

Bobby R. Smith (R), incumbent

Albert "Brick" Emerson (D).

    Party primaries will be held May 7; runoffs will be held May 21 and the general election will be held June 4.

    Marion also has elections scheduled at the same time. Mayor Elvis Hudson is the only mayoral candidate who had qualified as of early Friday morning.

Aldermen in Marion are all elected at large. Those candidates are:

Barbara Anthony, incumbent

Bernice Martin, incumbent

Bobbie Sherrod, incumbent

Rita S. Rawson, incumbent

Tammy Young, incumbent

Larry Donald Thrash

Frank J. King

Kathy West Brown

Ben Langston

Lisa Lindley