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Rick Addy announces decision to seek re-election as Ward I Alderman

After announcing his intentions to not seek another term as Oxford’s Alderman for Ward I, Rick Addy has changed course due to recent announcements regarding this year’s municipal elections.

On Friday, Addy announced on his Facebook page his intention to now run for re-election. The change of heart comes from the possibility some candidates who were running to fill his seat in this summer’s elections may no longer be eligible.

Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch issued an opinion regarding the requirements candidates must meet to qualify for municipal elections, which contradicts the interpretation of many municipalities, city clerk offices and candidates themselves.

Fitch’s opinion reads: “Candidates for municipal ward office, in a municipality with a population of 1,000 or more, according to the latest federal decennial census, must have been a resident of the ward they seek to serve for a minimum of two years prior to the date of election.”

This year’s elections take place on June 8, meaning eligible candidates must have lived in the wards they are running for since at least June 8, 2019. Addy noted due to the Attorney General’s opinion, a candidate he was supporting to fill his seat may no longer qualify.

The statute had previously been interpreted by Secretary of State Michael Watson’s office to indicate candidates for municipal office must be a resident of the municipality, meaning the City of Oxford, for two years but do not need to necessarily reside in that specific ward for those two years.

“I was comfortable knowing there capable candidates running for Aldermen of Ward I who shared a similar vision of how Oxford most successfully moves forward,” Addy’s post read. “I had complete confidence knowing one of these candidates would be representing our ward. …I have given my time and heart to serving our community and will submit my paperwork this (Friday afternoon) to seek re-election.”

As of Friday morning, the candidates qualified for the Ward I race were Democratic candidates Erin Smith and Billy Crews, along with Harry Alexander running as an Independent. Addy did not specify which candidate he was supporting or endorsing to fill his seat in his Facebook post.

Oxford City Clerk Ashley Atkinson told the EAGLE that election commission had not met as of press time to discuss how many, if any, of the candidates currently qualified will no long be eligible to run in the upcoming elections. The deadline to qualify is 5 p.m. on Feb. 5

As of Friday morning, second candidate had officially qualified for the mayoral race, ensuring Mayor Robyn Tannehill will not run for a second term unopposed. Brandon Pettis filed his paperwork this week to run as an Independent. Independent candidates do not have a primary, meaning the 18-year-old will challenge Tannehill in the June 8 general election.

In the Ward II race, incumbent Alderman Mark Huelse is seeking re-election as a Republican and will be challenged by Democratic candidate Afton Thomas.

Alderman Janice Antonow announced last month she will not seek a seventh term on the Board of Aldermen, leaving the Ward III seat open for a new face to occupy it. As of Friday morning, Republican Candidate L. McQueen Miscamble and Democratic candidate Brian Hyneman were the only two officially qualified in the race to fill Antonow’s post.

Ward IV Alderman Kesha Howell-Atkinson was still running opposed in her bid to seek her first full term on the Board as of Friday morning.

In the Ward V race, incumbent Preston Taylor will be challenged by Justin Boyd and Tracey L. Williams in a Democratic primary this spring. The winner of that primary will go on to the general election unopposed, as no other candidates from a political party qualified.

Ward VI Alderman Jason Bailey is currently running opposed in his re-election bid as a Republican candidate, while Alderman At-Large John Morgan will be challenged by Democratic candidate Linda Porter Bishop. Morgan is running as an Independent.

Primaries will take place on April 6 with any runoffs needed taking place on April 27. The general election will be held on June 8.

Check oxfordeagle.com for developments regarding the elections throughout the weekend.