LIBERTY — Amite County voters will select their next circuit clerk and nominees for three county supervisor seats in Tuesday’s runoff.
The race for circuit clerk saw three longtime county employees in competition for the position during the Aug. 6 primary. Barbara McDonald, 45, of Liberty and Celeste Bell McIntyre, 41, of Gloster advanced to the runoff over longtime county worker Lisa Sullivan, 57, of Liberty.
Both McDonald and McIntyre have spent years working under incumbent Circuit Clerk Debbie Kirkland, who will retire after this year.
The leader of the runoff will win the race as there are no Republican or third-party candidates.
McDonald has lived in Liberty for more than six years. She was born in Zachary, La., and is married to sheriff’s investigator Danny Meaux.
She has served as deputy circuit clerk for nearly five years, which has provided her with the experience needed to manage the court system and election procedures, she said.
McDonald said she will work toward making the clerk’s office more accessible through the internet and hopes to promote the importance of voting in county schools.
“I want to thank all my friends and family for their support,” McDonald said. “It has been a long journey and is not over yet. I’m asking for your continued support on Aug. 27.”
McIntyre is a lifelong resident of the county and has worked as deputy circuit clerk for the past three years, which has taught her how to run the office and has given her experience with carrying out elections, she said.
Her family has long been in the realm of public service in Amite County, as her grandfather Benoyd Bell served as mayor of Gloster in the 1980s and ’90s.
McIntyre said she is well qualified for the position, with experience in both the criminal and civil court systems and a deep love for Amite County.
She looks forward to dealing with technology upgrades that the office will need.
“I really appreciate all the support that I’ve received so far and want to make sure everyone gets out to vote on Aug. 27,” she said. “I’d really appreciate your continued support.”
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The race for Amite County supervisor in District 1 is another tight one, with incumbent Warren Leake facing Jeff Freeman.
The winner of the runoff will take on Nelson D. Etheridge Sr., who is running as an independent candidate, in November.
Freeman, 53, is owner and president of Freeman’s Tires and Accessories in Liberty.
“I feel pretty good. I think I’ve got a good chance at winning,” he said. “We’ve got to get people out to vote.”
People throughout the community have come to him expressing the desire for a change in policies and for more work to be done on ailing infrastructure throughout the county, he said.
Freeman wants to address infrastructure promptly, with road and bridge projects being of the utmost importance, he said.
Leake, 58, is the current supervisor in District 1. He owns and operates Warren Leake Insulation in Liberty. He declined to comment for this story.
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In the Democratic runoff for District 2 supervisor, Guy McNabb of Centreville faces Edward J. Perry of Gloster.
The winner will face Republican Adam Ewell Day in November, with the winner replacing Will Powell, who is retiring after 20 years on the board.
McNabb, 37, of Centreville, is the owner and operator of 3-M Timber, a logging firm.
He said he gained helpful experience in business which has given him skills that he can translate over to county government.
McNabb said his experience in construction and logging may prove invaluable for the repair or replacement of numerous county roads and bridges.
In addition to his technical understanding of the problems, McNabb said he cares deeply about the county and has both the drive and the ability to work for others throughout the community.
“I feel like I’m the best qualified candidate for the job because of my experience over the years,” he said.
Perry, 65, a lifelong resident of Gloster, teaches elementary education and drives a school bus for the Wilkinson County School District.
Perry said he understands the workings of government and professional organizations and can use that knowledge to help his community in Amite County.
“I want to make a difference and improve the county using my ability to guide and establish a plan for a multimillion dollar budget,” he said.
Perry said he is particularly concerned with decisions that impact public health and safety and economic development.
“I want to give back to my community,” he said.
While he supports striving for the ideal, he also has ideas for tangible projects that he could work on immediately.
“I’m interested in better roads and bridges and I value honesty, integrity, experience and dedication,” he said.
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Another tight Amite County supervisor race triggered a runoff in District 3, with Democrats Robert “Cash” Spillman and Racheal Davis competing for the party nomination.
The winner will face independent incumbent and board president Jackie Whittington in the general election.
Spillman, 55, of Gloster, is the owner and operator of Cash’s Air Conditioning and Refrigeration.
He attended Pine Hills Christian Academy before studying industrial technology at Southwest Mississippi Community College.
His experience in business and knowledge of the community in Amite County are two strong aspects of his platform for election, he said.
“I’m clearly experienced with equipment and business and managing employees,” he said.
When asked what will play to his advantage in the runoff, he noted he’s known throughout the county and having run a successful local business since 1994.
Spillman said he is most concerned with fiscal responsibility and infrastructure maintenance and development.
“The most important thing to keep doing is to keep taxes down and still be able to maintain roads and waterways,” Spillman said.
Spillman faces Racheal Davis, 62, of Gloster in the runoff election.
Davis challenged Whittington in the 2011 general election, when Whittington won another term. The same story played out in the 2015 general election. This year, Davis hopes to flip that result.
She did not respond to requests for comment.
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In District 4, incumbent Butch Graves, a Democrat, will face Steve Brady, a Republican, in November.
In District 5, Democrat Tony Patterson will face Max Lawson, an independent.