The GOP party primary was delayed this week and elections to pick the mayor’s appointments to Clarksdale Public Utilities board of director and Clarksdale Municipal School District board of trustee has also been delayed.
Coahoma County Circuit Clerk Demetria Jackson said the state announced it was delaying party primary elections set for March 25 on Friday because of the coronavirus.
The primary runoff election has been set for June 23.
The Republican runoff is between Thomas L. Carey and Brian Flowers. The winner will advance to the November general election to face Democratic U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson, a longtime incumbent who has been in office since 1993..
The Rev. Kenneth Gooden’s five-year term on the school board ended March 1. Mayor Chuck Espy has the responsibility of recommending a candidate to fill the seat. City commissioners must approve the candidate.
Espy decided he would have interested candidates campaign and CHS students would vote on the individual he would recommend. Campaigning and voting was scheduled to take place this week, but it has been postponed, according to Tarra Slack, director of personnel, safety and marketing for the mayor’s office.
There is a six-month window after the end of the term for someone to be appointed to fill the seat. The incumbent Gooden will continue serving until a candidate is appointed.
“Basically, we’ve already contacted the candidates and they are aware that they won’t be campaigning during this week,” Slack said. “We are postponing it until further notice. We don’t have a date to reschedule the campaign.”
A new date for the election has not been determined. The candidates are Gooden, the Rev. Zedric Clayton, consultant Cedell Brownlee and teacher YoKeyna Miller.
Assistant Superintendent Dr. Toya Matthews said the original plan was to extend the break one week, but after Gov. Tate Reeves issued a state of emergency, the district closed longer than anticipated.
“Right now, we’re just in hold mode,” she said. “We don’t know anything outside of this week that we’ve been asked to extend. So there’s no new information that’s come down in terms of guidance past this week.”
The coronavirus outbreak and subsequent shutdown by the city has also put the appointment of Mayor Espy’s board member to the Clarksdale Public Utility board.
Prior to the shutdown Espy said residents would go to City Auditorium on April 13 for a debate among CPU candidates. He said a vote would be taken after the debate.
Candidates for Espy’s CPU appointment that will chosen by the public are:
• James Hicks: (incumbent) Businessman.
• Freddie Davis: Teacher.
• Anna Jones: Clinic Director.
Clarksdale Public Utility board members are paid $500 a month, plus expenses.
Clarksdale Municipal School District board members are paid $200 a month, plus expenses.
The CMSD Board of Trustees is composed of:
Ward 1: Clay Stillions
Ward 2: Joan Morris
Ward 3: Delores S. Harris
Ward 4: Sherley Fields
Mayor: Kenneth Gooden
Board members are chosen for 5-year terms with one member’s term expiring each year. The term of office begins the first Saturday in March.
The school board meets at 5 p.m., the third Thursday of each month, at the Central Office. Board meetings are open to the public.
CPU Board of Commissioners is composed of:
Ward 1: George Miller
Ward 2: Dr. James Humber
Ward 3: Adrian Allen
Ward 4: Donald Mitchell
Mayor: James Hicks.
CPU Commissioners are appointed to five-year terms and may be reappointed when their term expires.
CPU Commissioners represent the citizens of Clarksdale and are entrusted with overseeing the activities of the General Manager and CPU Administration. Board meetings are held at 4:15 p.m., the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month, at the Carraway Building. Board meetings are open to the public.