May 2 is election day in Hattiesburg, Mississippi as four of the five Hattiesburg City Council incumbents and the mayor face strong challenges for their seats. Voters and candidates alike prepare themselves for a very important day as Tuesday could set a new direction for the city.
This election is the primary election. The general election will be held June 6. The city council race will have a total of 18 candidates and the Hattiesburg American reports that many of the issues on some of the voters’ minds include brown water, sewage, education funding and zoning.
Steven Taylor, a resident of Hattiesburg told the Hattiesburg American that “the city smelled like feces for countless years.”
Johnny DuPree was elected city mayor in 2001 and has won every bid since, covering four terms. This could be his fifth if he manages to beat out his four challengers: Toby Barker, Tom Garmon, creator of the controversial website, The Hattiesburg Patriot, Shawn O’Hara and Catherine Starr.
Hattiesburg is divided into five wards. Ward 1 has four candidates. Councilman Bradley is not running for re-election this year, so all the contenders are newcomers, one of which is a graduate student at the University of Southern Mississippi.
Ward 2 incumbent Deborah Delgado is being challenged by three candidates. All of the candidates are concerned with Ward 2’s livability issues, which include flooding, terrible roads, low employment and high crime rates. If Delgado wins, this will be her fifth term on the council.
Ward 3 incumbent and president Carter Carroll has served 5 terms and is running against three other candidates in a 6th term bid. Each candidate is running on a platform of fixing the city’s wastewater problem and roads.
Mary Dryden, the incumbent councilwoman of ward 4 is running against two challengers. Dryden’s platform is based on water and sewer infrastructure, repairing the streets, and improving neighborhood associations. Her opponents are also running on the platforms of wastewater resolution, but also small business improvement and residential involvement in improving the city.
Ward 5’s Henry Naylor is running for re-election against two opponents for his fifth term. He works with the Planning and Development Department. His two opponents are running on platforms of fixing the wastewater problem and other infrastructure problems the city has been dealing with for so long.
Polls open at 7am and will close at 7pm.