Meridian and other Mississippi municipalities will elect mayors and city council members in mid-year elections. For months, names have been popping up in Meridian.
Cassandra Sloan is the first candidate to file qualifying papers to run for mayor. She previously made her announcement at a downtown rally. And Wednesday, she opened her campaign headquarters at 1903-A 6th Street.
"I believe this is an opportune time for us to make change in this city," said Sloan. "To that, I bring freshness and a new attitude."
The qualification deadline is Mar. 6, with the primary election May 5. And as the election approaches, more names are popping up as possible candidates.
Incumbent Mayor John Robert Smith has held the position for the last four terms, totaling 16 years. He says he plans to announce his decision at a later date.
"My family and I will be together when we tell the people of Meridian what we see for the future," said Smith, a Republican.
Meanwhile, lifelong Meridian resident Cheri Barry, also a Republican, says she is definitely running.
"I want to have the opportunity to build this community, to work with diversity and all corners to build prosperity and growth for the people," Barry said. "I have a passion for the city and the people that live here."
Barry serves as executive director for the Key Chapter of the American Red Cross. She said she plans to take a leave of absence, effective Mar. 1, and at that time will fully kick off her campaign.
Local State Farm insurance agent Percy Bland told Newscenter 11 he plans to make an announcement regarding any political intentions Feb. 3 at 11 a.m. However, he has already launched a Web site detailing his candidacy.
Wally Hudnall, a retired businessman who has run for the office in the past, says he is considering running, but he is still discussing the issue with his family.
Bill Marcy, a former Republican congressional candidate, announced his intent to run in October 2008, but he hasn't qualified yet. Marcy said he plans to do so around the first of March.
As for who definitely isn't running, Sidney Covington of Riley Hospital said she will not seek the mayor's office or any other elected position.
As with any election, as the deadline gets closer, more candidates are likely to express interest or change their minds.
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