By Daniel Brunty
The Webster Progress-Times
Election Day is right around the corner and Webster County electors will have the opportunity to express their preferences through their vote.
The 2014 general election is Tuesday, Nov. 4. Webster County voters will not only decide their choice for the Senate, but will also choose a congressman, multiple chancery court judges and, in District 5 only, a school board representative. They will also make a decision regarding the status of hunting and fishing in the state of Mississippi.
In the U.S. Senate race, Republican incumbent Thad Cochran will face Democrat Travis W. Childers and Reform Party candidate Shawn O’Hara. Cochran is coming off a slim victory over fellow Republican Chris McDaniel in this past June’s primary election and runoff.
The race for the U.S. House of Representatives’ 1st Congressional District features four candidates. The incumbent, Republican Alan Nunnelee, has been the 1st District congressman since 2011. He will face Democrat Ron E. Dickey, Libertarian Danny Bedwell and Reform Party candidate Lajena Walley. Nunnelee ran uncontested in the June primary election.
In more local races, the nonpartisan judicial elections all feature candidates running with no opposition. Jimmy Maxwell of Oxford will remain judge for the Court of Appeals District 1, Position 1, while Judge Kenneth M. Burns of Houston will be re-elected Chancery Court judge for District 14, Place 1.
The 10-member Court of Appeals hears cases assigned by the state Supreme Court. The Mississippi Legislature created the court in 1994 to speed appeals and relieve a backlog of cases before the State Supreme Court. Court of Appeals judges serve eight-year staggered terms.
In the last two judicial races, Joey Loper Jr. of Ackerman will remain Circuit Court judge for District 5, Place 1, while Clarence E. Morgan III of Kosciusko will be re-elected as Circuit Court judge for District 5, Place 2.
For Webster County School Board member in District 5, Independent candidate Robert Milton Davis is running unopposed. He will succeed incumbent Keith Hudspeth.
Another item that voters will see on their ballot is a referendum regarding hunting and fishing in Mississippi. It will be listed on the ballot as “Statewide Initiative Measure No. 1, House Concurrent Resolution 30.”
The referendum will read on the ballot: “This proposed constitutional amendment establishes hunting, fishing and the harvesting of wildlife, including by the use of traditional methods, as a constitutional right subject only to such regulations and restrictions that promote wildlife conservation and management as the Legislature may prescribe by general law.”
In Mississippi, a proposed amendment can be passed by majority vote, provided that the total number of votes cast on the initiative equals at least 30 percent of the total votes cast in the election.
This referendum, if passed, would create a constitutional right to hunt, fish and harvest game species throughout Mississippi. With many other states looking to ban hunting and fishing altogether, this referendum would ensure that under the state constitution this issue would not occur in Mississippi at any point in the future.
The deadline for in-office absentee voting is noon Saturday at the circuit clerk’s office.