JACKSON — The race to fill out the remaining three years of the late Chokwe Lumumba’s mayoral term is likely to be a blend of familiar and fresh faces.
Three-term Jackson mayor Harvey Johnson Jr., who lost in the 2013 Democratic primary, announced yesterday that he will seek to reclaim his former seat. It would be second comeback for Johnson, Jackson’s first black mayor. He lost to Frank Melton in 2005 after two terms, but retook the mayor’s office in 2009.
Johnson touted his experience, saying he could help improve the city’s infrastructure using a 1 percent sales tax increase that Lumumba persuaded voters to approve.
“I’m seeking the office of mayor so that we can continue to write our city’s story over the next three years,” Johnson said from the steps of the Smith-Robertson African American history museum.
An email to supporters said Lumumba’s son, Chokwe Antar Lumumba, would announce his run today outside Jackson City Hall.
Support has been building for the younger Lumumba over the last week, with Hinds County Supervisor Kenneth Stokes endorsing him at a city-sponsored memorial service Friday.
State Sen. John Horhn told The Associated Press that he’s also running, and will formally announce his bid tomorrow.
Hohrn ran for mayor in 2009 and finished fourth in the Democratic primary. He’s served 22 years in the state Legislature.
Councilman Melvin Priester Jr. says he will announce his plans today. First elected to the council last year, he’s the son of Hinds County Court Judge Melvin Priester Sr.
Other possible candidates include City Councilman Tony Yarber and City Councilwoman Margaret Barrett-Simon. Yarber told WJTV-TV earlier that he’s seriously considering a bid. Barrett-Simon wrote on her Facebook page that she will decide later this week.
Jonathan Lee, a businessman who won a place in the Democratic runoff along with Lumumba last year, announced yesterday that he would not run.
City Clerk Brenda Pree said no candidates had formally qualified as of yesterday morning. Candidates must file petitions with signatures of 50 registered voters to qualify by March 19.
The nonpartisan special election will be held April 8. A runoff, if necessary, would be April 22.
Lumumba died Feb. 25 at age 66 from what the Hinds County coroner described as natural causes.