More than two dozen seek municipal office in Biloxi

A total of 27 people have filed qualifying papers to be candidates in the upcoming Biloxi municipal elections, and plans for the races are moving forward using the pre-Katrina ward lines.

Friday at 5 p.m. was the qualifying deadline for potential candidates. The slate of candidates features 18 Republicans, seven Democrats and two independents. Ward 3 Councilmember Lucy C. Denton is the only incumbent without opposition in the May 7 party primaries, and Ward 4 Councilmember Clark Griffith is the only incumbent not seeking re-election.

The councilmembers in four council races – Wards 1, 4, 5 and 6 – could be decided in the party primaries since there is no party opposition or independent candidates in those races.

But the candidates and the wards in which they are running could change if the U.S. Department of Justice approves the city’s proposed new ward alignment by March 19, which is when Municipal Clerk Stacy Thacker must begin printing absentee ballots.

The City Council, using data from the Census 2010, approved new ward lines to reflect dramatic population shifts caused by Hurricane Katrina. The redistricting plan was submitted to the Justice Department in January. If the plan is approved by the March 19 printing deadline for absentee ballots, candidates would then immediately have to re-qualify, if they so choose, to run in the reconfigured wards.

The ward lines will not be an issue in the mayor’s race, where A.J. Holloway, already the city’s longest-serving mayor, is seeking an unprecedented sixth term. He faces David Bull in the Republican mayoral primary. Jess Kennedy is the lone Democratic candidate for mayor.

The most active council races are in Ward 6, where incumbent Edward E. “Ed” Gemmill faces five opponents, and in Ward 4 where five candidates are vying for the seat being vacated by retired Air Force Gen. Clark Griffith. Another seat without an incumbent is Ward 5, where Dan Hunter and Dr. Paul A. Tisdale are seeking to replace Tom Wall, the longtime councilmember, who died in January.

The candidates: To see the complete list of candidates, click here.

The background: To see the city’s Voter Information page — which shows existing and proposed ward lines and a listing of key election dates — click here.

Popp’s Ferry bridge repairs set for Wednesday evening

Those temporary repairs made to the steel grating of the Popp’s Ferry bridge a few weeks ago will be made permanent on Wednesday evening.

Traffic on the bridge will be reduced to one-lane at the span on Wednesday evening beginning at 7:30, according to City Engineer Damon Torricelli.

Workers will be removing the temporary square-foot steel plates that were installed on Feb. 15 and welding the grate itself. Previous repairs took about 45 minutes, but Torricelli said the permanent fix could take at least two to three hours.

Biloxi police officers will be on hand to keep traffic moving safely in both directions, but motorists should plan alternate routes if possible.

News and notes

A Grillin’ on City Desk: Get a preview of this weekend’s Grillin’ on the Green in the current edition of “City Desk.” To listen to the webcast, which features Chief Administrative Officer David Nichols and Main Street’s Kay Miller and Laurie Rosetti, click here.

Beauvoir antiques: Beauvoir: The Jefferson Davis Home and Presidential Library will host an Antiques &
Collectibles Fair April 19-21, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. To learn more about the show, click here. The show is being coordinated by Vieux Marche Antiques.