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Candidate forums for local elections taking place this month

Primaries for the state and local elections are three weeks away, and voters who are trying to sift through all the candidates running for Lafayette County supervisor seats and county offices will have a chance to get a clearer picture, starting next week.

The Oxford and North Mississippi chapter of the League of Women Voters is sponsoring a “Listen Learn Vote” event, consisting of a series of candidate forums.

The Lafayette County and Oxford Library will be the site for most of the forums, but candidates running for District 3 supervisor will speak at three separate venues.

Oxford’s League of Women Voters chapter was re-established in 2017 after being dormant for many years. The chapter was originally chartered in the 1960s. They hosted candidate forums for the Board of Aldermen elections in 2017, but these events will be their first forums for Lafayette County elections since re-forming.

“The League is a non-partisan organization, and our goal is to educate the voters on the issues in a non-partisan way,” Linda Bishop, president of the Oxford chapter, said. “We always have Democrats and Republicans there. It’s not about political platforms. It’s about giving the candidates the opportunity to speak to their constituents.”

Candidates who are running uncontested are also invited and will be recognized at the forums, but they will not be invited to speak, according to Bishop.

The first District 3 forum will take place at Taylor Community Center on July 22 from 6 to 8 p.m., with two more scheduled for the Gordon Center in Abbeville on July 27 from 10 to 11:30 a.m. and the College Hill Community Center on Aug. 1 from 6 to 8 p.m. Incumbent District 3 supervisor David Rikard is running against six other candidates, including Davii Jo Chinault and Scott Michael, in the Republican primary. Cynthia Parham, Dale Timothy Gordon and Alonzo Hilliard are running the Democratic primary and Lakeisha Borum is running as an Independent.

Candidates running for District 1 supervisor will speak to voters on July 23 at the public library from 6 to 8 p.m. Current supervisor Kevin Frye is not seeking reelection, as he is running for a seat in the Mississippi State Senate (District 9). Harold Brummett, Adam Clay and Anthony Cox are the Republican candidates, and the victor in next month’s primary will run against Democratic candidate Brent Larson in November’s general election.

District 2 candidates will get their turn on July 29 from 6 to 8 p.m., also at the library. Current District 2 supervisor and president of the Board of Supervisors, Jeff Busby, is also not seeking reelection as he is running for Lafayette County Circuit Clerk. Busby’s seat is the most-contested of the five supervisors with eight candidates. Ed Neilson, Ava Halon Bonds Gossett, Leslie Spence, Max Hill, Darryl L. Booker and Joshua McGlawn are running in the Democratic primary, with Chad Mills and Larry Gillespie running as Republicans.

The District 4 candidate forum is also scheduled for July 29 from 6 to 8 p.m. and is taking place at the Lafayette Civic Center. Incumbent Chad McLarty is seeking reelection and is running against Scott Allen, Duncan Grey and Boyd Dorris in the Democratic primary. Derek Mooney and Scott Allen are running as Republicans.

A forum for District 5 will take place in the fall ahead of the general election between incumbent Mike Roberts and the winner of the Republican primary.

Candidates running for circuit clerk, tax collector, justice court judges and Lafayette County sheriff will speak on July 30 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the library. Busby is running against Karen Curtis Borden in the circuit clerk’s democratic primary with the winner running unopposed in the general election. In the sheriff’s race, Joey East and Raymond Westley Sides are running as Democrats, with Jeff South running as an Independent.

On July 25, candidates running for Mississippi House of Representatives in Districts 5 and 10 will speak to voters at the library from 6 to 8 p.m. Incumbent John Gary Faulkner is running against fellow Democrats Carl Robinson and Jacqueline Simon for the District 5 seat. Current District 10 Representative Nolan Mettetal is retiring, leaving the seat open. Republicans Amanda Campbell, Bobby Dailey, Brady Williamson and Nolan Webb will square off in next month’s primary, as will Democrats Kelly Morris and Robert Gray, Jr.

The primaries are Aug. 6 and the general election is taking place on Nov. 5. There will be another round of candidate forums taking place in the fall ahead of the general election. Bishop said they are in the process of setting up a forum between the Republican and Democratic gubernatorial candidates.

 

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story identified District 10 Mississippi House of Representatives candidate Brady Williamson as running on the Democratic ticket. Williamson is running on the Republican ticket.