Democrat mayoral candidates look toward runoff

Published: Apr. 7, 2021 at 4:55 PM CDT
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MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - Nearly 25 percent of registered voters took part in Meridian’s mayoral primary. The majority of them voted for former Lauderdale County supervisor, Jimmie Smith, who led a 5-candidate field. He received nearly 2,000 votes, which is about 40 percent.

“I think people see the decay that’s in the city. The city has tried to do some things lately by trying to clean a little bit up,” Smith said. ”They ought to be doing it all year round. It’s not like you just have one room to clean up and it’s going to be spic and span. You have to do this constantly.”

Incumbent Mayor Percy Bland is fighting for his third term. He received nearly 1,700 votes, which is just under 35 percent.

“We can talk about our ideas, our solutions, what we bring to the table and the things that we’ve done in this city,” Bland said. “I’ve been here. I’ve been here through the wins and the losses. I haven’t stayed here for 12 or 15 years under some rock somewhere. I didn’t get off my couch to be mayor. I’ve been doing the things it takes to lead this city.”

Smith said the people have spoken, but that there’s more work to do. He says he wants to earn the votes of those who chose someone else on the ballot.

“We are going to make sure we get the word out there that we’re running and that we’re leading the ticket,” Smith said. “It’s important that we be truthful with people. That’s what we’re doing. We are making sure we are telling the truth and not trying to impose any kind of false accusations to anybody.”

Bland says he’s ready to fight for more votes in the upcoming runoff.

“Mr. Smith is going to have to talk about his connections to ‘the Barrys’. He’s going to have to talk about his connections to all these old things that happened in the past that we’re trying to bring back to present day,” Bland said. “He has had his chance at leadership. Some of the streets and things we are dealing with in Ward 2, from housing and everything else, was under his leadership for 20 years. He didn’t do anything to improve it.”

Anyone who is registered to vote in the city of Meridian will be able to vote in the runoff election, even if they did not vote in the primary Apr. 6.

“I’ve volunteered my time before I was ever elected. I’ve been in the community and I listen to people,” Smith said. “I’m not concerned about people spreading mistruths about me because people who know me, know me. I just feel good about it.”

The primary election results are preliminary until they are certified. Mail-in absentee ballots can still be counted if they are postmarked on or before April 6 and arrive within five days of Tuesday’s election.

The runoff is Tuesday, April 27.

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