Several Mississippi cities reelect mayors, others see change

Published 4:40 pm Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Mayors won reelection Tuesday in Mississippi’s two largest cities, Jackson and Gulfport, and a Republican was elected in Tupelo to succeed the Democratic mayor who did not seek a third term.

Voter turnout was low in several cities as people elected mayors, council members or aldermen for the four-year term that begins July 1.

In Jackson, Democratic Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba, who’s an attorney, won a second term. He defeated Republican Jason Wells and three independent candidates — Shafeqah “BigMama” Lodree, Charlotte Reeves and Les Tannehill.

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“We aren’t satisfied. It’s only a start. We want to build a movement that represents all of us,” Lumumba said at an election-night party, according to the Clarion Ledger.
Republican Billy Hewes, who is a former state senator, won a third term as Gulfport mayor by defeating Democratic challenger Howard Page. Hewes told the Sun Herald that he plans to focus on attracting tech jobs tied to Gulf of Mexico exploration.

Real estate agent Todd Jordan, a Republican, defeated attorney Victor Fleitas to succeed Jason Shelton as Tupelo mayor, the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal reported.
“It’s been a long journey,” Jordan told the newspaper. “We’re to the end of it as far as the campaign, but it’s just the beginning on what we want to do.”

In the Gulf Coast city of Gautier, former City Council member Casey Vaughn, an independent, defeated first-term Republican Mayor Phil Torjusen.

In the open race for Moss Point mayor, Democrat Billy Knight defeated Republican Richard McBride and independent Howard Bailey. Knight is a longtime businessman and former school board president.

Meridian voters elected Democrat Jimmie Smith as the new mayor, the Meridian Star reported. Smith is a former Meridian police officer and former Lauderdale County supervisor. He defeated current Mayor Percy Bland in the Democratic primary in April, then defeated Republican Robert Ray and independent Weston Lindemann on Tuesday.
Vicksburg Mayor George Flaggs Jr., an independent, won a third term by defeating Democrat Troy Kimble and independent Daryl Hollingsworth, the Vicksburg Post reported. Flaggs previously served as a Democrat in the state House.

Oxford Mayor Robyn Tannehill, an independent, won a second term by defeating first-time Democratic candidate Brandon Pettis, the Oxford Eagle reported. Tannehill was elected as a Democrat in 2017 but dropped the party label this year.

Hattiesburg Mayor Toby Barker, an independent, won a second term by defeating Democrat Lakeylah White, the Hattiesburg American reported. Barker previously served as a Republican in the state House.

Starkville Mayor Lynn Spruill, a Democrat, was unopposed for a second term.