The race to become Lowndes County’s next circuit clerk now has six candidates.
Deputy circuit clerk Teresa Barksdale, who has worked in the office’s criminal records division for 20 years, has qualified as a Republican. The 52-year-old New Hope native told The Dispatch her knowledge and experience as deputy clerk make her the most qualified candidate.
She is one of four Republicans to qualify to run for circuit clerk so far, joining retired teacher Margie Canon, local attorney and former Mississippi Supreme Court justice Chuck Easely, and Columbus Packet co-owner Justin Shelton.
Ward 2 Columbus councilman Joseph Mickens has qualified as a Democrat, while Golden Triangle Planning and Development District director for computing services Tim Heard is running as an independent candidate.
All are vying to replace Haley Salazar, who is retiring at the end of the year following 24 years in office.
Barksdale has spent her entire tenure as deputy circuit clerk working under Salazar, whom she said had been an excellent role model. Barksdale’s mother, Mary Clark, worked 42 years as a deputy circuit clerk.
“I’ve grown up in this office,” Barksdale said. “I’d just like to keep it in the family.”
Circuit clerk pay is based on fee collection and is capped at $90,000 per year. Salazar said she has only made $29,750 annually as circuit clerk for the last several years, since state law allows her to simultaneously draw retirement. She has worked for the county since 1976, beginning as a deputy circuit clerk.
Zack Plair is the managing editor for The Dispatch.