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Choices abound for Natchez general election

Natchez voters will go to the polls Tuesday to cast ballots in the Natchez municipal general election to decide who will serve the next four years in alderman positions in wards 1 and 4 and for mayor.

This year’s municipal election cycle has been complicated and prolonged by the COVID-19 pandemic having the dates put back a couple of times.

The big day will finally arrive on Tuesday and the winners will take all as no runoffs are necessary in the general election.

In three of the city’s aldermen positions, no challengers stepped up to run against the incumbents: Ward 2 Alderman Billie Joe Frazier; Ward 3 Alderman Sarah Carter-Smith and Ward 5 Alderman Benjamin Davis.

Incumbent Ward 6 Alderman Dan Dillard survived a primary challenge from Queen Ella Wilson and Arrick Rice and Dillard will serve another term.

Those early victories speak well of the voters’ satisfaction with those aldermen.

In other aldermen races, challenger Valencia Hall defeated longtime incumbent Joyce Arceneaux-Mathis for the Democratic Party nomination in the primary and will face independent challenger Jamar White in Tuesday’s general election.

In Ward 4 incumbent Felicia Bridgewater-Irving won the Democratic Party nomination over challengers Fredrick Todd and she won a runoff against Michael Calcoate.

Now Bridgewater-Irving will face Republican candidate Brenda Floyd, who did not have a challenger for the Republican nomination.

The mayoral race will be between Dan Gibson who won the Democratic Party nomination over fellow Democrat Tony Fields.

Gibson now faces former Natchez Mayor Phillip West who is running as an independent.

Regardless of who wins in next Tuesday’s municipal general election, a couple of things are certain, the makeup of the Natchez Mayor and Board of Aldermen will be different even if four of the aldermen are serving another term.

And, depending on how the remaining races go, the make up of that board could be different in many ways, based on the personalities, platforms and stances of the remaining candidates in the remaining races.

On Sunday, The Natchez Democrat will present synopses of the candidates in the races that will be on the ballot next Tuesday based on interviews they conducted with The Natchez Democrat editorial board.

I encourage you to study up on the candidate, consider where they stand on the issues and go to the polls next Tuesday to cast an educated vote for the candidates you feel will best lead Natchez forward over the next four years.

Scott Hawkins is editor of The Natchez Democrat. Reach him at 601-445-3540 or scott.hawkins@natchezdemocrat.com.