Five candidates now in supervsior’s race

Published 4:05 am Sunday, May 9, 2010

There are five candidates now in the race for supervisor of District Two.

 Deadline for filing is Sept. 3, so there is plenty of time for more to get into the race. The Special Election to fill the late Charles E. Culpepper’s remaining term is Nov. 2.

Virgil C. (Kent) Dunn — who is seeking the District Two supervisor’s post currently occupied by Joyce Culpepper, the widow of the late Charles E. Culpepper, who died in office on Nov. 23 — said he decided to run because he is “sick and tired of seeing a small minority of political leaders ignore the wishes of the vast majority of voters.”

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Dunn is manager of Delta World Tire in Picayune and lives in the Springhill Community near Poplarville. He is 49 and was reared in the Oak Hill and Springhill communities.

He is one of four candidates challenging Joyce Culpepper, who said this week she will run to fill the unexspired term of her late husband, Charles E. Culpepper, because “I think that is what Charles would want me to do.”

Said Dunn, “I, along with a lot of other people I know, are fed up with a government that is run by a small minority of people who ignore what our people want. There are 40,000 people in Pearl River County. They are not represented.”

“What I am hearing is that people want government out of their business and want to be left alone to lead their own lives, without being taxed to death,” said Dunn. “People are going to have to get involved.”

Others, besides Culpepper and Dunn, seeking the post are Rayford Lee, Daryl Smith and Rafe Smith. Deadline for filing for the race is Sept. 3.

Lee works in the construction business building homes and Daryl Smith works for the City of Picayune as a supervisor.

Lee lives on Rock Ranch Road in Carriere, and Daryl Smith, who is 47, in the Henleyfield Community.

This is a first run for office by Lee and Dunn, but Daryl Smith has sought the District Two post before. In 2007 Culpepper beat Smith in a GOP runoff to see who would go into the General Election in November 2007. Culpepper won the General Election, beating his Democratic opponent 2-to-1.

Rafe Smith lives in the Fords Creek community, as does Culpepper.

After Charies Culpepper died on Nov. 23, supervisors appointed Joyce Culpepper as interim supervisor on Dec. 2 until a special election could be held in November to fill the unexspired term of her deceased husband.

Charles Culpepper had worked for the county for 19 years and ran for the post when former District Two supervisor Danny Wise decided not to run for re-election. Culpepper beat a number of GOP opponents in the primaries leading up to the November 2007 general election, which he won.

Culpepper had served one year and 10 months of his first term when he died, following a bout with pancreatic cancer. When elected in November 2007 he was the county’s assistant road manager.

If no one gets a majority of votes cast in the Nov. 2 election — that is 50 percent of votes cast plus one — then a runoff will be held two weeks later involving the top two vote-getters.

The winner will serve out Culpepper’s remaining term, which runs to Dec. 31, 2011.

Daryl Smith said this week that he chose to run again because he is “concerned about the future of Pearl River County.” Said Smith, “We need to build a strong economy that will provide jobs for our people, so our young people can stay here and make a good living if that is what they want to do.

“I have experience of making out budgets and then living by them, so I am qualified for this job. We need to develop an industrial park in the county so that industry that wants to locate here will have a place to establish their business,” he said.

“I am not saying that the current board is not doing a good job, but there are areas where I would place more emphasis, like in economic development,” Smith said.