Lumumba Wins Democratic Primary; Presumptive Mayor of Jackson

Chokwe Lumumba holds his son and daughter's hands as he walks in the Clarion Hotel's "Trinity II" room upon winning the Democratic Primary.

Chokwe Lumumba holds his son and daughter's hands as he walks in the Clarion Hotel's "Trinity II" room upon winning the Democratic Primary. Photo by Trip Burns.

— In a race that changed rapidly over the last week, City Councilman Chokwe Lumumba has taken the Democratic primary runoff, and likely the mayor's office, with 20,180 votes over 17,103 for Jonathan Lee.

At a celebration party at the Clarion Hotel Tuesday night, the crowd of 150 to 200 campaigners, friends and supporters went wild when news stations began to call the race.

About 15 minutes later, Lumumba entered the room to chants of "Chokwe! Chokwe! Chokwe!"

After being introduced by his son and daughter, the civil rights leader took to the podium to chants of "The people must decide!"

"I want to express myself first of all and say that I love every single one of you," Lumumba said, thanking his campaign workers. "...This has been a long and stressful day, but it's not the first one I've ever had. I have a long list of stressful days. God kind of prepares us for the moment. He gives you those little hurdles to jump until you get to the big hurdles, and he's smart enough, and we're blessed enough, to be empowered to jump those hurdles when you get to them."

It was a family affair, with all of Lumumba's Jackson staff, a handful of his youth-league basketball players and his extended family from all over the country joining him behind the podium.

He was also joined by former mayoral candidate Regina Quinn, who endorsed him after finishing fourth in the first primary vote two weeks ago.

According to polls, Lumumba was down 14 points (49 percent to 35 percent) just six days ago. But following last Friday's WAPT/Clarion-Ledger debate at MC's School of Law, he closed the gap to four points in the same poll by Monday afternoon.

Lumumba shared a story of how he listened to a radio program the night before the election to some guys saying "off the chart" things about him in a negative way. "I was trying to figure out how I could be too black and be a race traitor at the same time," he said to big laughs from the audience.

"But the people of Jackson could not be fooled," Lumumba said. "It's really amazing when you look at it. I think that the representation selected by the people is a representation of the readiness of the people, and I think the people of Jackson are ready to get it done."

Lumumba finished by reminding his supporters he still faces three independent candidates in the general election, and urged them to support him on June 4. "There's no telling what they'll make up about me by then," he said.

Comments

1234 1 year, 2 months ago

I know you won't post this. I don't care. Nice job being non biased. You arent neutral just because you say you aren't endorsing anyone when you post Tom Head's piece about "loving Jackson" on twitter the day of the election. The Jackson free press will now serve as toilet paper in my household. There is no other legitimate use for your publication. And to think that our forests trees are cut down for your print editions.

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Knowledge06 1 year, 2 months ago

Who really cares if you take your ball and go home darryl. You make an old saying from the country very true based on your post. And i'll be clean with it. To paraphrase the saying: 'There's one thing that a person like you darryl with a penny hates is someone like me with a nickel.' Keep your penny and your ignorance!

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AndGoodbyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyeeeee 1 year, 2 months ago

(Preface: this comment is not about one candidate winning over another, but rather what this election has shown about the state of the people of Jackson.)

Unsurprisingly, Lumumba won this election by painting Lee as the white republican's candidate. I saw this coming months ago. Honestly, I was surprised more candidates didn't do it prior to the first primary. When it was a one-on-one race, it became easy to paint the picture of the white business man versus the black public servant. In Lumumba's case even making Obama vs. Romney comparisons in last week's debate, and thus turning the election in this mostly black city.

Just take a moment to ask yourself, and really think about the answer: "Where does Jackson stand, when the Democratic candidate for mayor is decided on racial and party lines?"

This city and this state so desperately need to move past the racial division that has defined so much of our history. This election has shown the people here are either unwilling to move past those divisions or are completely oblivious to how that movement might begin. And, judging by years his rhetoric and his campaign strategy the last two weeks, the leadership of Chokwe Lumumba will only work to accentuate and further ingrain those racial division into the lives of the people of Jackson. A leader who can barely speak a sentence without brining up race and racial division is not a man who will lead people beyond those racial divides.

The Jackson metro and the relations, or overwhelming lack there of, between the races here is in a cripplingly sad state. I fear it will only get worse over the next four years, as more and more of the white population scatters to the suburbs as the people in the city grow more and more poor, and thus more and more turn to crime due to lack of education and economic opportunity in Jackson.

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Capitolinsider 1 year, 2 months ago

Very interesting election breakdown. What do all of you think of this?

http://www.capstonepublicaffairs.com/blog/?p=858

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kingkeylion 1 year, 2 months ago

I get so sick and tired of people saying we need to move past the racial divide! Or that an elected official will make something worse than it is! And it is usually the ilk of folks who created this mess to begin with, have resisted every legitimate effort to redress it, and then blames the victims of it for it. it is as stupid as saying that rape happens because women dress too sexy. No, rape happens when men lose control, and the racial divide/ racism happens when the race with the most resources/ power skews the game to keep it, and refuses to get real and deal with our history honestly. We just passed a law for Confederate History Month, and you think that Lumumba is causing a racial divide? Please...

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AndGoodbyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyeeeee 1 year, 2 months ago

I think I missed where anyone said Lumumba is "causing a racial divide." What I said was that this election was a clear indication of the racial divide that exists in Jackson. Lumumba came from behind and won because he accentuated the racial and party divides that exist, and painted Lee as the white republican's candidate.

Don't pretend like anywhere near the majority of white people own any resources or have any power, because they don't. Chokwe Lumumba clearly has far more power, money and resources than most white Americans have ever had in their lives. Why? Not because some government official gave it to him, or even helped him out. Not because of the color of his skin or because he voted for a "Barack Obama Democrat." He has that power and those resources because he worked his ass off for a long to get where he is today.

I would love to have seen Lumumba elected based on that hard work. He clearly has more experience and knowledge of local government than Lee, and also has created and run his own successful law firm. Unfortunately, that is not why he will be Jackson's mayor. He will be Jackson's mayor because he successfully painted his opponent as "the 39211 (aka white man's) candidate" and himself as "the brother with the African name. "

That is not the way to better the people and our society. That is the way to play into the racially divided culture that still emanates from that Confederacy you spoke of, Kingkeylion. I hope Lumumba heals the wound between the races like no other Mississippi mayor before him. But if his campaign strategy is any sign of things to come, I fear he will only deepen the scars that have kept Jackson hidden in the shadows for so long.

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justjess 1 year, 2 months ago

I'm confused. I know what was done to Black folks but what I don't know is this: What have Black folks done to white folks?

From my history, Blacks are/were the VICTIMS. Seemingly when ever there are signs and symptoms of a people trying to heal and become SURVIVORS, you then become the DIVIDER?

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bill_jackson 1 year, 2 months ago

Well, congratulations. Enjoy your ever shrinking tax base.

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tstauffer 1 year, 2 months ago

@ladycap68 We can certainly hope that's not actually Chokwe's plan; it's definitely not a healthy attitude. White folks in Jackson have just as much right to good governance, justice and opportunity as anyone of any other ethnicity in Jackson.

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donnaladd 1 year, 2 months ago

And that rumor runs counters to all of his recent actions and statements. I wouldn't lie awake at sleep worrying about that.

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donnaladd 1 year, 2 months ago

1234, just saw your post way above. Sorry, the conspiracy theory doesn't stick. Tom's piece was his column that week, and our web editor (who is the most unpolitical cat you'll ever made, and lives in Rankin County) always sends out the non-staff column on a certain day. Beyond that, we would never apologize for tweeting any content in our paper whenever we want because, you know, it's our paper.

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Duan 1 year, 2 months ago

@ AndGoodbyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyeeeee

"Lumumba won this election by painting Lee as the white republican's candidate"

To single Lumumba out for that kind of politics - is narrow minded and flat out biased.

What about every republican that used scare tactics during the term elections of 2011 - that made sure they pointed out their oponent was an Obama supporter? Or supported Obama's welfare socialist programs - in other words, whoever was democrat was a Black Democrat Candidate.

So the argument of Lumumba painting Lee as a white republican - is weak and self-serving!

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Capitolinsider 1 year, 2 months ago

Here are two of your post ladycap68. I think you answered your own question.

First you said this

ladycap68 says...

this morning i saw Our Mayor, Harvey Johnson, on channel 16. he was very gracious and i ams till despondant over the fact that he didn't even make it to the runoff. i am very sad for our city.

BUT. i do not see why white people don't want to vote for Chokwe.

they keep saying he wants to make a new country and that he doesn't like white people, but i know for a fact that Chokwe went to wilson carol's house in fondren for a fundraiser, and he's as white and republican as you can get.

white people should vote for Chokwe.

Then you said this

ladycap68 says... Well i ended up voting for Chokwe and i am happy i did!!!!!!!

i have been told by alot of people that Chokwe has a plan to take over Jackson and put white people in there place, and i think it is about time.

Jack town is a black town now!!!!!!!!!!!

I think you have your answer on why many white people did not vote for Lumumba.

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Knowledge06 1 year, 2 months ago

ladycap68 you obviously aren't a frequent reader of this site. The information you're linking to was placed on this site BEFORE the election. At what point are you going to move on? At what point are you going to realize that the MAJORITY of people are not paying attention to the fear you and others like you are peddling. It's truly sad that you would have to continuously resort to these maneuvers in order to get someone to believe the foolishness you are peddling. I feel sorry for you and pray that your level of understanding will expand beyond the narrow place of which you have taken up residency!

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donnaladd 1 year, 2 months ago

Thanks, knowledge. Yes, we've reported on the Jackson Plan repeatedly.

ladycap, with due respect, I don't think you're who you say you are. Please email me directly before I open any further posts: ladd@jacksonfreepress.com

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JLucas 1 year, 2 months ago

Ladycap68 has an agenda. You can smell troll on that one.

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AndGoodbyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyeeeee 1 year, 2 months ago

Duan: I didn't mention national republican candidate's tactics in 2011, because it's not relevant to this point, and not exactly timely. Thank you for mentioning it, though, because it only goes to further prove my point that politics in our city, state and country are in a terrible state.

What I said isn't biased. As I've said before, I kind of like Lumumba, and he was my No. 2 choice in this race next to Quinn. It's not self serving, because I'm moving out of this state (a decision I made long before the election and one based on getting better work in a place with better scenery) before Lumumba will even take office, so whoever is mayor here won't effect my life.

Third, I'm guessing by your comments pointing out Republicans' actions that you think I somehow identify with them. I don't. At all.

I singled Lumumba out because I was writing about how the winner of this election won. Therefore, I singled out THE WINNER.

Watch last Friday's debate. Count how many times Lumumba tied Lee to republicans, Ward 1 or the 39211 area code (the area of Jackson with the highest concentration of white citizens). Tally how much time Lumumba spent talking about Lee's support base and, in one way or another, pointing out that it was largely white. How many times did Lumumba connect himself to Obama, and in turn try to connect Lee with Romney? How many times did Lumumba point at the he was "the brother with the African name. "

It's not a matter of who I wanted to win or not. I think Lumumba is probably the better choice over Lee. My point is that when government leaders are chosen by race or party, it shows that politics in our country is in a very bad state. Unfortunately, you are right about the same tactics being used on the national level. That doesn't make it any more right on the local level.

If this city, state and nation are ever going to truly move forward, we the people must evolve in our way of thinking. We cannot do that so long as we allow politicians to become our leaders by convincing less than 18% of eligible voters (that's right, less than 18% elected Lumumba) they are the best choice because of the color of their skin or how closely they are tied to the national political parties that care only for the agendas of lobbyists who fill their wallets.

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Duan 1 year, 2 months ago

@ AndGoodbyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyeeeee

Third, I'm guessing by your comments pointing out Republicans' actions that you think I somehow identify with them. I don't. At all.

Not really - I was just calling out the selective outrage in your argument.

Plus you are assuming that I gave Chokwe a pass for his conduct in his campaign, but if you really knew me as well as some of the regulars on here - they could tell you I called out the misconduct of both candidates a long time ago.

I was even criticised by some quote on qoute softies, for not being realistic about politics and understanding this (the conduct of Lee and Lumumba) is the state of the game and if I wanted to watch civil discourse, to go watch UFC Mix-Martial Arts fighting - YES, that is what I was told when I stated my displeasure!?

So if you want to single Lumumba out and not others for those very same tactics, regardless of when it happened - then be my guess - I just called you out on it because I felt it was a self serving argument by not calling out both sides (Republicans & Democrats) for using those same tactics.

BUt I do agree with you on the low turn out - but only the citizens are guilty of that - not the politicians or the system.

The local media needs to question citizens on why they did or didn't vote and then questions their feelings on the local area and the condition of the metro.

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willisjn1 1 year, 2 months ago

The fact that no white candidate ran for mayor of Jackson is self defeating. Do most white Jacksonians assume that they can't win because it is Black majority city? Take a look at New Orleans. It is the message that resonates. Let's not insult the intelligence Black (or white) Jacksonians to make an intelligent choice and vote for the candidate. What is the message of the Independent candidates? Milwaukee WI elected a Socialist Mayor in the forties/fifties and the city thrived.

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