Natchez mayor’s race not over yet

Published 12:11 am Friday, May 13, 2016

If you think the Natchez mayor’s race is over, think again.

Election night, Democratic candidate Darryl Grennell won the primary with more than 70 percent of the vote — an impressive showing against Natchez alderman Tony Fields.

Many might get the impression that Grennell’s next challenger, independent candidate Eric Junkin, will be an easier matchup for the former Adams County supervisor. After all, Junkin, who has worked for the city as the former information technology director, would be considered a political newcomer compared to Grennell’s 18 years in office.

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Recent elections across the river show that being an establishment candidate isn’t necessarily a plus in today’s political climate.

In fact, reviewing some of Junkin’s positions on the issues, the computer consultant sounds like he could be the candidate who could attract the votes of those who are looking to shake up the system.

Junkin is not afraid to use the harshest of words to describe some of the issues facing the city.

He calls the school system “dismal.” He use the same word to describe the state of the city’s roads and highways.

He calls the current guidelines in the fire department “unacceptable” and says addressing the turnover in the police department will be one of his top priorities.

Instead of railroading his ideas through the board of aldermen Junkin says he will seek consensus.

“I will encourage the right decision based on the desired results and the constraints. I believe that we can all agree on a solution to any issue,” Junkin said recently. “The key to agreement is to define the issue clearly, define the exact results desired and list all of the constraints that must be applied to the solution. If you and I don’t agree on a solution, then we must define the problem, results and constraints more clearly, until we do agree.”

Clearly Junkin promises to put ego aside when developing common sense solutions.

When it comes to the economy and jobs Junkins calls it like he sees it.

“I do not talk to any business people that are thrilled at the current business environment in Natchez,” Junkin said. “I hear consistently that business is down, especially in the downtown area.”

When it comes to addressing the issue, Junkin points to treating all businesses fairly.

“Every business, just like everyday citizens, expect to be treated according to the rules of law — predictably, fairly and justly.”

Playing by the rules, working within the law and using technology to make things work efficiently are some of the biggest themes in Junkin’s campaign.

Such ideas are refreshing in a time when backroom deals and preferential treatment are viewed by many as business as usual.

Of course, Grennell offers his own vision for the next four years — a vision more than 3,000 voters approved in the Democratic Primary Tuesday,

Even still, the upcoming general election should not be viewed as a cakewalk for Grennell supporters.

Junkin should be viewed as the outsider candidate — and outsiders are fairing pretty well this year.


Ben Hillyer is the news editor of The Natchez Democrat. He can be reached at 601-445-3540 or by email at