Few incumbents draw challengers

Published 10:30 am Monday, January 9, 2023

Three weeks of qualifying left

The first week of qualifying brought several candidates to the Lafayette County courthouse this week and voters got their first look at what the primary and general election ballots may include.

The qualifying period started Jan. 3 and will end Feb. 2 at 5 p.m. when the courthouses closes for the business day.

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Primaries will be held Aug. 8 with runoffs on Aug. 28, if needed. The general election will be on Nov. 7 with a Nov. 28 runoff. 

Qualifiers are not required to choose whether to participate in the Democratic or Republican primary, or to skip the primaries and run Independent. The two parties will review applications and certify candidates to participate in their primaries.

Independent candidates must gather 50 signatures from qualified electors of their district to be included on the general election ballots. The county Elections Commission will set the general election ballots once the two political parties have their official candidates after the primaries.

Candidates also pay a fee of between $50 and $250 to qualify.

After just four days of open qualifying period this is what Lafayette races look like so far. This will change week to week and will be updated for readers.


Incumbent Joey East has been Sheriff since 2019 and has no challengers. 


Current coroner Rocky Kennedy will not seek re-election. He has declared for Tax Assessor/Collector. Glenn Coleman is the only announced candidate for that post.

Circuit Clerk

Jeff Busby is the incumbent, and has no challengers as of Friday.

Supervisor District 1

Incumbent Brent Larson has qualified for re-election and has no competition as of Friday.

Supervisor District 2

Larry Gillespie is the office holder. Avery Dunn has qualified to challenge for the set.

Supervisor District 3

Supervisor David Rikard will run for his seat again and has drawn one challenger – Josh Thweatt – as of Thursday.

Supervisor District 4 

Incumbent Chad McLarty will run again, as will Scott Allen, who has qualified.

Supervisor District 5

Supervisor Mike Roberts, who also serves as the board president, will not run for his seat, and will instead run for Chancery Clerk, a post that opened with the announced retirement of current clerk Sherry Wall.

Jason Kent, Greg Bynum, Mike Fortner have also qualified for that race.

Tax Assessor/Collector

Incumbent Tax Assessor/Collector Sylvia Baker was elected in 2012 and will retire after her third term. Baker started in the office in May 1997.

Early qualifiers for that seat are Sheila Busby Kelly and Rocky Kennedy.

County Attorney

Bela J. Chain III is the incumbent, and no one else has qualified.

Justice Court Judges

LaSonja “Sue” Pettis has qualified for the Northern District post currently held by Judge Carolyn Bell, who has served two terms and is retiring from the bench.

Judge Mickey Avent holds the Central District seat, and Judge Johnny Wayne McLarty has the Southern District post. Neither have qualified opponents after the first week.


Greg Pettis (Northern), Kenneth Drewrey (Central), and Jack E. Theobald II (Southern) are the incumbents and there have been no other potential candidates qualified.

Election Commision

Erin Smith replaced Max Hipp and is serving as interim election commissioner. Smith will run for the seat, and there are currently no other candidates.