March 7, 2017 11:22:35 AM
Ward 2 Alderman Lisa Wynn can proceed with an independent re-election campaign after City Hall certified more than 50 petitioners as qualified Starkville voters Monday.
Wynn, who shed her Democratic Party affiliation before Friday's qualification deadline, needed at least 50 registered voters to support her independent bid. She submitted a petition last week of 60 names to City Clerk Lesa Hardin.
Fifty-six of those signatories were certified as qualified voters who reside within Ward 2 Monday by Hardin and Election Commissioner Jim McKell.
The now-independent Wynn will face Republican Jesse Carver and former Ward 2 Alderman Sandra Sistrunk, a Democrat, in June's general election.
Wynn's party change came after Carver qualified to represent the GOP Friday. Sistrunk was the first Ward 2 candidate to qualify in January, and Wynn qualified last month.
The 48-year-old incumbent said the possibility of financing two election bids -- May's Democratic Primary and June's General Election -- previously led her to make plans to run as an independent if a Republican qualified for Ward 2's race.
"We had actually analyzed that prior to (Carver's qualification Friday). I looked at that and did not want to put myself, as well as my supporters, in that situation," Wynn said. "I'm excited to hit the campaign trail. My constituents were so supportive of me in allowing me to do this. They've been gracious and kind to me."
Carver, 32, said he decided to run for alderman as a way to give back to the community. He is a former Mississippi State University baseball player who now works as an agent with the New York Life Insurance Company.
He is the brother of incumbent Ward 1 Alderman Ben Carver, who is running for re-election as a Republican against two other candidates: Republican Jason Camp and Democrat Christine Williams.
Sistrunk, 66, served one term as Ward 2's alderman before Wynn unseated her in a 2013 runoff election. Wynn and Sistrunk previously tied with 181 votes each in that year's Democratic Primary before Wynn edged Sistrunk out 217-191 in the next race.
Carl Smith covers Starkville and Oktibbeha County for The Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter @StarkDispatch
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