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Free Citizen

This writer espouses individual liberty, free markets, and limited government.

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Location: Jackson, Mississippi, United States

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Natchez Mayor Loses Re-election Bid

Phillip West, elected in 2004 as the first black mayor of Natchez, Mississippi, was defeated in today's Democratic primary.

West is a former Adams County supervisor and formerly chaired the Legislative Black Caucus in the Mississippi House of Representatives. He drew criticism from other caucus members when he endorsed the confirmation of Judge Charles Pickering for the 5th U. S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Pickering, who was not confirmed by the Senate, was given a recess appointment by President George W. Bush.

Jake Middleton, who won the Democratic primary for mayor, will face the independent Chick Graning in the June 3 general election. Both Middleton and Graning are white.

West becomes the third of the last four mayors of Natchez to fail to win a second term. The exception was Larry "Butch" Brown, who served two terms before losing in 2000 to F. L. "Hank" Smith. Brown is now executive director of the Mississippi Department of Transportation.

Natchez, named for a now-extinct Indian tribe, is 70 miles south of Vicksburg and is the oldest settlement on the Mississippi River. Natchez is world-famous for its many pre-Civil War mansions, some of which it opens for tours twice a year. This pilgrimage to the antebellum homes was begun in the 1930s.

Note: Sen. John McCain, of course, has had the Republican presidential nomination clinched for several months now. It's interesting that, with 97 percent of the votes counted in today's North Carolina Republican primary, 26 percent have voted against McCain. And with 88 percent counted in the Indiana Republican primary, 22 percent have voted for candidates other than McCain.

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