Incumbent mayors lose in Meridian, Southaven

ACROSS MISSISSIPPI — An attorney and former civil rights activist was elected Jackson’s mayor yesterday, while Southaven’s controversial mayor has been defeated for re-election after four terms, according to unofficial returns.

In Jackson, the Clarion-Ledger reports Councilman Chokwe Lumumba (pronounced SHOW-kway Lu-MOOM-bah) was elected mayor. The newspaper reported that with most precincts reporting, Lumumba received 85 percent of the vote against three independent candidates. He will succeed Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr., who finished third in this year’s Democratic primary.

Lumumba, an attorney and civil rights activist, was active in a black nationalist group decades ago. But he ran as a mainstream candidate who would represent all city voters, and defeated businessman Jonathan Lee in the Democratic primary runoff last month.

“Thank you, Jackson. None of this would be possible without faith and your support,” Lumumba wrote on Facebook last night. “I’ve said it before and today it is still true, this is not my victory. This is the people’s victory. Together we will make Jackson rise!”

In Southaven, Mayor Greg Davis lost his bid for a fifth term to Republican Darren Musselwhite, a political newcomer and insurance agency owner.

The Commercial Appeal reported that Davis’ defeat ends the tenure of the longest-serving and most controversial mayor in the city’s 33-year history.

Davis, an independent, faced Musselwhite and Democrat Coria Williams, a retired major from the Memphis, Tenn., Police Department. Davis was elected to the state House of Representatives in 1991 and served until he was elected mayor in 1997. He ran unsuccessfully as a Republican for the 1st District congressional seat in 2008. Davis has had legal problems, including a state auditor’s demand that he repay more than $70,000 for personal expenses charged to the city.

Most Mississippi cities were electing mayors yesterday. Winners begin their terms on July 1.

Among the cities getting new mayors are Brookhaven, Clarksdale, Clinton, Gulfport, Pascagoula and Tupelo, where incumbents didn’t seek re-election. In Jackson and Vicksburg, mayors were defeated last month in party primaries.

Here are results from some other mayoral contests:

__Biloxi. Voters returned five-term Republican Mayor A.J. Holloway to office, according to the Sun Herald. Holloway defeated Democrat Jess Kennedy, who described himself as a Blue Dog Democrat trying to appeal to tea party voters. Holloway also defeated Kennedy in 2009.

__Hattiesburg. Three-term Democratic incumbent Johnny DuPree and City Council member Dave Ware were locked in a close contest late Tuesday, according to the Hattiesburg American. DuPree, who was the 2011 Democratic nominee for governor, was facing Ware and three other independents.

__Meridian. Democratic insurance agent Percy Bland defeated Republican Mayor Cheri Barry and two independents, winning about 54 percent of the vote, WTOK-TV reported.

__Ocean Springs. Democratic Mayor Connie Moran won re-election, receiving more than 60 percent of the vote against Republican challenger and Jackson County supervisor John McKay, the Sun Herald reported.

__Tupelo. Attorney Jason Shelton easily won and will become the city’s first Democratic mayor in 28 years, according to the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal newspaper. With all precincts reporting, unofficial results showed Shelton defeating Republican Fred Pitts, a City Council member, by a 3-2 margin. He told supporters that he thought his “positive campaign” helped bring him victory.

 

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