Eight seek District 2 supervisors’ post

Published 1:31 pm Thursday, September 9, 2010

The filing deadline for political candidates ended on Friday, and when the ink had dried, eight Pearl River County residents had filed to run in the Nov. 2 Special Election in the District Two supervisor race to fill the unexpired term of the late supervisor Charles Culpepper.

Those filing included Culpepper’s widow, Joyce Culpepper, who was appointed Interim Supervisor of District Two.

The seven others filing in Circuit Court Clerk Vickie Hariel’s office were: Sidney Woodson, Keith Stines, Rafe Smith, Daryl Smith, Rayford Lee, Joe Knezevich and Virgil C. Kent Dunn.

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After Charles Culpepper died, of pancreatic cancer on Nov. 23, supervisors on Dec. 2 named Joyce Culpepper interim supervisor to serve until a Special Election could be held on Nov. 2.

She later announced that she would run in the Special Election because, she said, “I believe that is what Charles would want me to do.” She said she wanted to serve out his full term.

Culpepper was sworn in on Jan. 1, 2008, and his unexpired term ends on Dec. 31, 2011.

One of the candidates, Daryl Smith, a City of Picayune department supervisor, was in a runoff with Culpepper in the 2007 primaries. Culpepper won the nomination and went on to win the general election.

He had worked for the county for 19 years and decided to run for supervisor after former District Two Supervisor Danny Wise chose not to seek re-election.

Culpepper was widely known and liked. He lived in the Ford’s Creek Community, where his wife still resides.

Four of the then six announced candidates met in an Aug. 3 debate at Lee’s Chapel No. 1 in Mill Creek Community. The debate and forum was sponsored by the Mill Creek Neighborhood Watch.

Dunn, Lee, Daryl Smith and Rafe Smith were on-hand for the forum, and all four told the 54 residents on-hand in the Lee’s Chapel No. 1 gym that they would not raise taxes to close a budget deficit.

Each candidate said that they would even cut personnel, if they had to, to close the budget gap before raising taxes. They told attendees that with the economy the way it is, residents can’t stand any more taxes.

They also said they would tighten up on the use of county vehicles and inventory all equipment and assets, sell some off if possible and make sure all equipment and assets were all being used efficiently.

Another debate, this one sponsored by “PRC 1776” group, is scheduled for Saturday at 6 p.m. in the Picayune Coast Electric Power Assoc. conference room at 6375 U.S. Highway 11 North.

Ashle Thompson, head of the group, said the organization had received confirmation from six of the candidates that they would attend, and two had not said, as of Wednesday evening, whether or not they will attend.

She said it is really not a debate but a question-and-answer forum for candidates to get out their views to potential constituents. She said “PRC 1776” plans a meet-and-greet for the candidates on Sept. 25 at 6 p.m. at the Poplarville library and another forum in October.

If no one wins a majority of votes cast, the top two candidates will meet in a run off on Nov. 23.

In a Special Election, candidates are not listed by party affiliation and any registered voter can vote in the election.