Unofficial Totals: Sykes Beats Begley, McGowan Over Stringfellow, McQuirter Shakes Archie; Coleman WinsBy R.L. Nave
Only 8 percent of registered voters participated in yesterday's local Democratic runoff elections.
With such low participation, it undoubtedly helped community activist Kathy Sykes, who had wide support among progressive grassroots groups and fellow activists. It's also a majority black district. Sykes is African American; her opponent, attorney, Sam Begley is white. In unofficial county results, Sykes defeated Begley with 54 percent of votes to Begley's 46 percent. Begley wrote on Facebook last night saaying while he appeated to "come up short," he has a responsibility to his supporters to canvass the boxes to "confirm the correct result." The winner of that contest will face Republican Pete Perry in November.
Meanwhile, another community activist, David Archie had less success in his bid for Hinds County Board of Supervisors against incumbent Darrel McQuirter. Before the runoff, McQuirter seemed vulnerable considering that on Aug. 4, he won 44 percent of the votes against Archie and former Supervisor Al Hunter, both of whom have battled McQuirter in past elections. It seemed conceivable that Hunter's supporters would prefer Archie, but in the end McQuirter received 57 percent of votes.
The other Hinds County supervisors' runoff ended with Bobcat McGowan, a county employee, defeating Eric Stringfellow, a public-relations professional and former Clarion-Ledger columnist. McGowan seemed to have solid backing among some local black talk-radio talking heads, but didn't do media interviews, including with the JFP.
Finally, Hinds County race of interest, veteran legislator Rep. Mary Coleman defeated Robert Amos for central-district rep to the Mississippi Transportation Commission.
Here are the totals for Hinds County from the county's website:
TRANSPORTATION COMMISSIONER (VOTE FOR) 1 (WITH 110 OF 113 PRECINCTS COUNTED 97.35%) Robert Amos. . . . . . . . . . 2,274 20.80 Mary H. Coleman . . . . . . . . 8,614 78.80 WRITE-IN. . . . . . . . . . . 44 .40 HOUSE DISTRICT 70 (VOTE FOR) 1 (WITH 17 OF 18 PRECINCTS COUNTED 94.44%) Samuel Lee Begley. . . . . . . . 953 46.02 Kathy Sykes. . . . . . . . . . 1,114 53.79 WRITE-IN. . . . . . . . . . . 4 .19 SUPERVISOR DISTRICT 2 (VOTE FOR) 1 (WITH 29 OF 29 PRECINCTS COUNTED) David L. Archie . . . . . . . . 2,001 42.64 Darrel McQuirter . . . . . . . . 2,688 57.28 WRITE-IN. . . . . . . . . . . 4 .09 SUPERVISOR DISTRICT 5 (VOTE FOR) 1 (WITH 26 OF 27 PRECINCTS COUNTED 96.30%) Bobby "Bobcat" McGowan . . . . . . 1,221 53.93 Eric Stringfellow. . . . . . . . 1,035 45.72 WRITE-IN. . . . . . . . . . . 8 .35
9:38 PM With 100% in, McQuirter lost ground but appears to win with 687 vote lead.
With 94% in, Sykes leads Begley 54/46.
With 96% in, McGowan leads Stringfellow by 186 votes (54/46).
9:13 PM With 96.5% reporting, McQuirter leads Archie by just under 1700 votes.
At 83% in, Sykes leads Begley by 210 votes (55/44).
At 81.5% counted, McGowan leads Stringfellow by 294 votes (57/43).
8:59 PM With 67% reporting, Begley trails Sykes by 105 votes.
McQuirter leads Archie 57/43 with 83% reporting.
McGowan leads Stringfellow 58/41 with 70% counted.
8:53 PM McQuirter over Archie 65%/34% in Hind Sup 2 run-off (58% in).
McGowan leads Stringfellow by 96 votes (52% in).
8:50 PM With 44% reporting, Sam Begley leads Kathy Sykes by 48 votes in District 70.
8:40 PM: AP is reporting that Rep. Mary Coleman will win the Democratic Nomination for transportation commissioner in the central district.
Good news out of Oxford, Miss., just now. Legislative hopeful Cristen Hemmins and The Oxford Eagle are reporting on their Facebook pages that the Board of Aldermen voted unanimously to stop flying the Mississippi state flag until the Confederate canton is gone.
Per The Oxford Eage's Facebook Post:
"The Oxford Board of Aldermen have voted to remove the current Mississippi state flag from all city buildings and approved sending the state Legislature a resolution requesting the state flag be changed."
More than one person posting under the Eagle's post used the word "pansies" to refer to the aldermen. Robin Gittemeier Ware, who works with FNC Inc. Professional Services, commented underneath: "What we have here is a bunch of pansies afraid of "offending" someone. Everyone is offended by something but a flag never killed anyone."
Another commenter, Matt Sessums, took an irreverent approach in response to such posts: "Imagine how crazy some of these people will be when they name Obama as Chancellor."
Here are the election-night parties we know are happening. If you hear about of any others, please let us know. Polls close at 7 p.m.
Gov. Phil Bryant Tonight at 7:30 PM at the Mississippi Republican Party Headquarters (415 Yazoo St, Jackson)
Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves will speak to supporters and members of the media at 9 p.m. Tuesday at Parlor Market, 115 W. Capitol St. in Jackson.
Vicki Slater, Democratic candidate for governor Hal & Mal's 200 Commerce St., Jackson
Sheriff Tyrone Lewis Lewis Campaign Headquarters 4255 Robinson Road
Victor Mason, candidate for Hinds County sheriff The campaign headquarters are located at 955 I-20 South Frontage Road, on top of the hill at the Gallatin Street Exit.
Stanley Alexander, candidate for Hinds County district attorney Martin's 214 South State Street Jackson, MS
A new polling analysis published by examiner.com indicates something about Mississippi that has been in the works for a while: Based on recent elections, our state is trending blue.
Based on polling data on a Hillary Clinton vs. Donald Trump showdown in 2016, Mississippi is one of the few Deep South states that would go for Clinton in that matchup.
This analysis might surprise many who think that Mississippi is the reddest state of the red (especially based on our statewide cavemen, er, elected officials). But several facts make it much more complicated than at first glance:
State Democrats have provided very few even-marginally-progressive options historically, giving younger and less-conservative choices to vote for, creating voter lethargy among those who might turn out and vote "blue" otherwise. That fact is actually changing this year, with several openly progressive (and female) Democrats getting at least some party support, instead of the pseudo-Republicans the party has tended to put up in the last 20 years.
More young people of all races are staying in Mississippi, and many of them are voting Democratic, and have since 2004.
Demographics, demographics, demographics. The irony of Mississippi being the state with the highest percentage of enslaved people in 1860 is that our state still has the highest percentage of African Americans and is more likely than much of Dixie to go blue first. Put simply, African Americans tend to vote Democratic, ever since the Republican Party embrace of Dixiecrats back in the late 1960s after national Dems supported civil-rights laws, and we have the highest percentage of black residents in the country.
And, let's be honest, even many Republicans don't want bat-shit-crazy Trump running this country.
Finally, to be honest again, a lot of white people like Clinton better than Obama (even if I'm not one of them).
So, there are no surprises here: Mississippi has been steadily trending blue for a while now. The question, as always, is: Will the people who can flip the state into the blue column turn out both this November (to save public-education funding and turn out a governor who makes us look like the most stuck-in-the-past state) and next November?
Time, and voter registration, will tell. Progressive (which is easy to be here by rejecting the radical right) Mississippians must find the will to stop giving up our power to sellouts to bigotry and backward ideas (and ideologues) to lift our state up. I've watched this will grow since we started this paper in 2002—and saw serious evidence of it when we turned back Personhood, shocking the nation—and I believe in upcoming elections we may well surprise the world once again. I've believed this was coming for nearly 15 years now.
Stay tuned and register to vote.
He may not be leading money totals or straw polls, but Senator Bernie Sanders apparently did something that no other candidate has done yet in the 2016 presidential race... he had a record crowd last night in Wisconsin, pushing 10,000 people. Interesting.
In response to the Supreme Court's ruling today on same-sex marriage, the National Association of Evangelicals sent a statement to media, that begins:
God designed marriage for humanity. As first described in Genesis and later affirmed by Jesus, marriage is a God-ordained, covenant relationship between a man and a woman. This lifelong, sexually exclusive relationship brings children into the world and thus sustains the stewardship of the earth. Biblical marriage — marked by faithfulness, sacrificial love and joy — displays the relationship between God and his people.  While commentators, politicians and judges may revise their understanding of marriage in response to shifting societal trends, followers of Jesus should embrace his clear vision of marriage found in Matthew 19:4-6...
The most interesting thing about the NAE's statement is that it gives Jesus' answer to a question (Matthew 19:4-6) while omitting the question itself (Matthew 19:3). The passage in question has to do with divorce, not with same-sex marriage. Here's the NIV translation of the full exchange:
(19:3) Some Pharisees came to him to test [Jesus]. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?”
(19:4-6) “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’[a] and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’[b]? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”
While the NAE takes this statement to prohibit homosexuality (a topic Jesus never addresses), the National Association of Evangelicals does not take it to completely prohibit divorce. There are compelling pastoral reasons why it would be a bad idea to interpret it in that way.
The possibility that there may be similarly compelling pastoral reasons not to read the passage out of context as a condemnation of homosexuality does not seem to occur to our friends in the NAE at this time.
That said, it is worth mentioning that support for same-sex marriage among white evangelical Protestants has nearly doubled—from 14% to 27%—in the past ten years.
If this trend continues, the NAE is likely to follow Jesus' example and stop condemning homosexuality sometime around 2025.
"I believe any state flag should be a common symbol citizens can unite behind and proudly embrace as their own. If our flag is no longer useful for those purposes (to instill pride and unity across the broad spectrum of citizens), then we should reconsider its current status. I certainly agree with Speaker Gunn that the time has come to have that conversation."
Buried deep within the city council's 78-item agenda for Tuesday, is a proposed resolution from Jackson Councilman Kenneth Stokes to name the Pearl Street Bridge for the controversial late Mayor Frank Melton.
It's unclear what Stokes's motives are beyond the fact that he was an ally of Melton, who died on Election Night in 2009, and he seems to enjoy prolonging city council meetings as long as possible.
We'll try to find out more next week.
Call it "us vs. them politics"—like National Memo does in this piece—or what I call the "virtue of selfishness" that has been pushed for the last 30 years by conservative think tanks and pundits, but it boils down to this—social conservatives in this country like to blame the "other" for societal ills.
From the American Family Council calling an open-door campaign in the wake of anti-gay legislation "bullying" of Christians, to the persistent bellyaching here in the JFP comments about crime and social safety net programs, you see this "us vs. them" argument over and over again.
But here's what's interesting... the "us" may be getting smaller and smaller all the time.
For the first time since Gallup started asking the question in 1999, there's a tie between people who identify as "socially liberal" and those who identify as "socially conservative." The number is pinned at 31 percent each. Up until now, conservatives had led in that poll.
Likewise, on specific "moral" issues, again as measured by Gallup, the country has showed large left-ward shifts since 2001 on questions such as gay and lesbian acceptance, sex and childrearing out of wedlock, divorce, and stem cell research; smaller shift show on issues such as abortion rights, doctor-assisted suicide and against the death penalty.
Going into an election year in Mississippi, we probably won't feel that shift; most likely the we'll hear more about conservative wedge issues such as immigration, marriage equality and irrational rallying cries against expanding Medicaid and education.
But on a national stage going into the 2016 elections, this tilting landscape could spell trouble for the GOP, especially as it seems largely intent on trotting out the same candidates and many of the same tropes that have failed them in previous presidential election cycles. From the Salon piece:
Gen-X dreamboats Marco Rubio and Scott Walker, on the other hand, are offering young people a bleak vision of endless war, antiquated social values and economic hardship and they know it. It matters little if that dark picture of the future is offered by a youthful fellow with an ethnic name. It’s embarrassing for the Republicans that they don’t understand that.
If the country continues on its path to the left on social issues, it does seem that the clever politician who can marry a fiscally moderate position (strong economy plus strong safety net plus modern education and workforce) with a leftward social platform will likely continue to win outside of the gerrymandered districts of Congress.
From there, it's a question of rallying voters to the cause of fixing broken Congressional districts and campaign finance, so the voice of the people truly be heard at all levels of government.
Looking for evidence that charter schools don't offer a panacea for education because they're "run-like-a-business" solutions for education?
The churning waters of economic reality are bubbling over in New Orleans this spring; two schools, Miller-McCoy and Lagniappe Academies are both facing failure of their management, resulting in a great deal of turmoil for parents and students.
Interesting in the Lagniappe Academies case, the problem seems to be so dire that they may have to close the school early this year to "save money."
“I’m going to suggest that the school closes post state testing to save…money,” Bishop said.
Bishop said he recently learned the board may not have been receiving truthful information about the school’s finances and other matters from leadership. McCormick assumed leadership after CEO Kendall Petri and Chief Operating Officer Ninh Tran left mid-March. He said ending the year early could save the organization money and give the leadership the time needed to shut down the campus.
It sounds like the plan now is for management to give up completely and hand the school over to teachers.
The room broke out in applause when the board voted to put teachers in charge. Many members of the audience also voted ‘aye’ when the board voted on a motion calling for McCormick to resign by Friday.
Now, clearly, New Orleans has even greater challenges than Jackson when it comes to its schools and the failed school district they're trying to piece back together. But it does seem to offer some interesting case-studies for what happens when charters implode.
In Season 3 of House of Cards, the Netflix dark political drama, President Frank Underwood devises a plan to circumvent Congress and fund his sweeping jobs plan dubbed America Works.
The plan involved Underwood's declaring that soaring unemployment created a state of emergency, which let him tap into the coffers of the Federal Emergency Management Agency to provide jobs for out-of-work Americans.
Not saying Mayor Tony Yarber is Frank Underwood, but I wouldn't be surprised if HOC has been marathon-streaming on the Yarber family Roku in the past few weeks considering the announcement Yarber made this afternoon.
During a press conference in his office, Yarber, said that his administration has been "talking out loud as a team about declaring a state of emergency" for the city's infrastructure woes.
"Over the last 24 hours, we've seen more breaks than we'd like to see in our water mains," Yarber said.
The declaration enables the city "to use a different form of procurement in order to get the supplies and resources we need," the mayor added.
The winter weather and heavy rains of the past few weeks likely caused shifts in the soils that created potholes and weakened already brittle and deteriorating underground pipes.
Yarber stressed the quality of the water coming out of the city's water-treatment plant remains high, but some residents might see boil-water notices, which the city is legally required to issue when busted pipes cause drops in water pressure. The Red Cross and Salvation Army could be called upon to provide bottled water to area dormitories for students who cannot boil their water, Yarber said.
Yarber added that Gov. Phil Bryant and the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality support the declaration.
Council President De'Keither Stamps said he and his fellow council members are getting up to speed on the emergency-declaration processes.
"If the governor is supporting this, they've obviously identified resources," Stamps told the Jackson Free Press.
In recent weeks, the city council has expressed frustration with Yarber for not providing final budget numbers for fiscal-year 2013-2014 so that budget writers have a clear picture of the city's fiscal health.
Council Vice-President Melvin Priester Jr., who presides over the council's Budget Committee, said Yarber's declaration put the city in unchartered territory and he wants to see the details of the plan.
"If you can declare an emergency about aging infrastructure when there hasn’t been a tornado or hurricane or breakdown at the water-treatment plant, and magically be able to draw from a big pool of money with no strings attached, every municipality in Mississippi would have done it," Priester said.
The following is a press release from the office of Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves:
JACKSON – One day after nearly half of Senate Democrats joined all Senate Republicans in passing the largest tax cut in state history, House Democrats voted almost unanimously to kill the same bill.
“Fifty-two House Democrats believe they can spend your money better than the 1.23 million Mississippians that this bill would have benefited,” Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves said. “The Senate passed this bill in a large, bipartisan vote in an effort to simplify the tax code and encourage long-term economic growth. Hopefully, a few House Democrats will hear the cries of the people back home that need a little more money in their pockets to provide for their families.”
On Tuesday, the Senate voted 40-11 to amend House Bill 1629 to include additional income tax cuts proposed by Speaker Philip Gunn plus relief for small businesses proposed under Lt. Gov. Reeves’ Taxpayer Pay Raise Act.
The $555 million tax relief plan earned praise from Americans for Tax Reform. It would have:
· Eliminated the 3 percent and 4 percent tax brackets levied on income, · Reduced the overall tax burden on small business owners, and · Removed the investment penalty, or franchise tax, on businesses’ property and capital.
Eliminating the franchise tax alone would have grown the state’s GDP by $282 million and added 3,514 jobs within 10 years, according to a Mississippi State University study.
Former Jackson Ward 1 City Councilman Quentin Whitwell will run for the seat left vacant by the recent death of U.S. Rep. Alan Nunnelee.
He wrote on Facebook: "With the outpouring of support and the blessing from my family, I am pleased to announce that I am running for US Congress. As a native of Southaven and current Oxford resident, I am ready to run a strong campaign. My business background and legal training distinguishes my candidacy from the field. I hope you will join me in fighting to bring America back to its finest moment!"
Whitwell left the Jackson City Council in October to move back to Oxford so that his son could be trained under tennis coaches at the University of Mississippi.
Well-known in progressive political circles, Cristen Hemmins and Joce Prtichett today announced that they would run for elected office.
In 2012, Jackson Free Press readers opined that Hemmins should seek public office. Hemmins, chairwoman of the Lafayette County Democratic Party, will challenge state Sen. Gray Tollison, R-Oxford, for the Senate seat he has held since 1996. Tollison, a one-time Democrat who switched over to the GOP in 2012, had been eyeing late U.S. Rep. Alan Nunnelee's House seat but announced this week that he wouldn't run for Congress.
Joce Pritchett, an engineer who lives in Jackson with her wife, Carla Webb, and their children will make an announcement Friday at the Capitol that she will run for state auditor. So far, two Republicans have announced intentions to run, incumbent Stacey Pickering and Madison Mayor Mary Hawkins Butler. Charles E. Graham has also said he would run as a Democrat; Pritchett did not indicate which party primary she would run in.
Pritchett and Webb are plaintiffs in a federal lawsuit challenging Mississippi's same-sex marriage ban. That case is pending in a federal appeals court.
Ahead of the Friday deadline to qualify for state and county offices, several Jacksonians have qualified as Democrats in several races. That includes some old faces from local politics trying their hands at new, higher seats.
Bruce Burton of Jackson has qualified to run for the Central District seat on the Public Service Commission; Democratic state Rep. Cecil Brown has been actively campaigning for the seat for months.
Robert Amos, who has run for Jackson City Council and mayor, will compete for the Mississippi Department of Transportation's Central District post.
Democratic Party records show that Stan Alexander, a former Hinds County prosecutor now with the attorney general's office, has qualified to seek the Hinds County district attorney's seat. DA Robert Smith as of this morning has not qualified for reelection, party information shows.
Plavise Patterson, a businesswoman and community activist who ran for Jackson city council's Ward 5 in 2013, has qualified to run in Mississippi House District 69 along with incumbent Alyce Clarke. Corinthian Sanders, another perennial name on local ballots, will run for House District 72 against incumbent Kimberly Campbell.
And Charles E. Graham of Jackson qualified to contend for state auditor in the Democratic primary as well. Republicans in that race include incumbent Stacey Pickering and Madison Mary Hawkins Butler.
From the office of Mayor Tony Yarber:
City of Jackson Public Works Director Kishia Powell has issued a stop work order to Siemens, halting the installation of new city water meters. Powell also postponed the start of a new online billing system that was set to go-live this weekend.
The action comes after the discovery that Siemens had installed at least seven meters that were not configured to properly measure water usage, resulting in unusually high water bills. A review found that the company had installed gallon meters. The city measures water usage in cubic feet. Those meters have been changed out and adjustments are being made to the customers’ accounts.
The company must provide the city with an approved corrective action plan before installation work can resume. Siemens was awarded a $90 million contract in 2012 to install a new water meter system in Jackson.
A media availability with Powell is scheduled for 1 p.m. Friday, Feb. 13, in the Mayor’s Ceremonial Office at City Hall.
The city has been responding to customer complaints about higher water bills. In many cases, higher bills result from a more accurate reading of properly installed meters.
“While we believe there may be other gallon meters in the system that are contributing to the high bills, it has been found that some of the high bills have stemmed from leaks on private property,” Powell said. “Once those leaks are identified and fixed, adjustments are made to the accounts.”
Customers with questions about their bills are asked to contact the Water and Sewer Business Administration at 601-960-2000.
Jarvis Dortch, a health-policy expert and advocate, said today that he will run for the Mississippi House of Representatives.
"There are a number of policy concerns that I hope to address during this campaign. Our state's failures in healthcare, education, and wages are all issues that keep too many Mississippians in poverty," Dortch, who is running as a Democrat, wrote in the announcement.
"To be completely honest, many of our local legislators are not doing the job of engaging the public and truly representing our needs. Our problem isn't that we have poor people that aren't working hard, but we have poor leadership working against them."
Dortch is competing in District 66, which Democratic Rep. Cecil Brown now serves. In the last round of redistricting, however, Brown's district was combined with that of Republican Rep. Bill Denny. Brown is running for Public Service Commissioner from the Central District. The new District 66 serves south Jackson, Byram, Terry, Raymond and Utica.
"Unless you have your own personal lobbyist, the game is rigged against you. And there are way too many legislators willing to play the game. I'm not naive but I'm also not so cynical that I don't believe it's worth fighting for change," Dortch wrote.
A previous version of this story misstated that Jarvis Dortch is running against Rep. Bill Denny, R-Jackson.
Tonight, the Jackson City Council is scheduled to discuss a date for a special election to replace former Ward 3 Councilwoman LaRita Cooper-Stokes, who will be heading to the county's judges' bench.
The Jackson Advocate, one of two local newspapers highlighting news of interest to the African-American community, reported that Cooper-Stokes' husband, Kenneth Stokes, will indeed run to recapture the Ward 3 seat he held until 2011.
There had been wide speculation that Kenny Stokes, who represents District 5 on the Hinds County Board of Supervisors, would run for his old seat after having his power on the board greatly reduced in the past year.
Stokes, whose mother recently passed away, told the Advocate that he wanted to keep the seat in the family because of such traditions in the near-west-side ward, such as the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. celebration. His mother blessed the decision before her death, he said.
"We've got to continue taking to the streets to encourage people to stop the violence. And it's not a little thing that they can't afford to to pay their water bills. Our people are struggling just to get by," Stokes told the Advocate.
With a Stokes get-out-the-vote machine that should be studied in political sciences, the announcement is likely to make Kenny Stokes the front-runner in the field.
Albert Wilson, who ran for the seat in 2013 and competed in the special election for mayor this year, reportedly already has campaign signs up.
Another question mark is Pam Greer, the founder of a nonprofit that promotes violence prevention and supports families of violent-crime victims. Greer also ran for the Ward 3 post in 2013 and has remained a vocal critic of city government on social media. She told the Jackson Free Press that is fasting and would make up her mind when the fast concludes.
Going back to the referendum on the 1-percent sales tax, 11 elections have taken place somewhere in the city of Jackson, since January 2013.
A mailer is going around northeast Jackson attempting to link Dorsey Carson, a Ward 1 Jackson City Council candidate, to President Barack Obama.
Obama, an African American Democrat, is very unpopular among Mississippi Republicans.
The mailer, reportedly produced by the Hinds County Republican Party, depicts a photoshopped Obama with his arm around Carson even though the color of the president's hands in the photo don't match.
The Ward 1 race concludes with a runoff between Carson and Republican investment manager Ashby Foote tomorrow, Dec. 16, and is officially nonpartisan. Carson is a Democrat who contributed to Obama's election campaign and ran for the state Legislature as a Democrat, both facts that the direct mailer point out.
The push card also claims that Carson "criticized Mississippi to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder" over the state's redistricting plan. In addition, the flyer purports that Carson donated $500 to former Congressman Travis Childers over Sen. Thad Cochran in the recent U.S. Senate race.