The biggest race in Tuesday's primary run-off in Mississippi will decide who the Republican candidate will be in Southaven's mayoral race.
Insurance salesman Darren Musselwhite received 37.29 percent of the votes cast (902) and police school resource Officer and boy scout troop leader Jerald Wheeler finished second with 676 votes (27.95 percent).
The winner of the GOP mayoral run-off, wither Musselwhite or Wheeler, will go on to face incumbent Mayor Greg Davis, who is running as an independent, and Coria Williams, the Democratic Party's nomination, on June 4.
Whoever wins though, might not get a lot of votes. Voter turnout in the May 7 primary election was light, and in this run-off it's predicted that the turnout may be even lighter.
Musselwhite is a guy who grew up in Southaven, graduated from Ole Miss, came back and built a business in Southaven, and has been in the insurance business for 21 years in Southaven. Wheeler is a 28-year veteran of the Southaven Police Department.
Both GOP candidates appear to have been urged to run by family and friends.
"Well there is some controversy going around in Southaven and a bunch of friends and family asked me to run and I came out and qualified to run," Wheeler said.
"Well I just saw a need for my city," Musselwhite said. "A lot of people talked to me about it and asked for my help. I did some thinking and realized it was time for me to make a bigger impact for my city and stand up and help my hometown."
When asked what the biggest issue facing Southaven is, Wheeler and Musselwhite sounded somewhat alike.
"Public trust, getting the trust back, and accountability of the people who get elected to be accountable for their actions," Wheeler said.
"Well the main issue is we need to move forward with business - the fighting in Southaven City Hall, all the negative publicity needs to go away, so we can move forward with the business of Southaven," Musselwhite added.
Both candidates say they are ready for the campaigning to be over.
"I'm ready to know, I'm ready to be the mayor," Musselwhite said. "If the people want me to be the mayor, I'm ready to know."
"Yes sir I am," Wheeler said. "The citizens police academy we are graduating a class (Tuesday) night. I take the scouts camping in the summer, working on that. We are doing a lot of community involvement I am in and it never stops."
As for the light turnout in the primary election, Musselwhite said he was told 25 percent of the Southaven's registered voters cast ballots during the May 7 primary.
"You figure 6,000 people," he said. "I've not seen the exact number of people registered, but I think somebody told me 25 percent. I would like to encourage the people of Southaven to get out and vote so you can have true representation of the people for the city."
During the two candidate's respective campaigns, there was no mudslinging.
"Darren Musselwhite is a fine man," Wheeler said.
"I've never known Jerald Wheeler very well, but I've met him during the campaign," Musselwhite said. "I've never heard anyone say a negative thing about the man."
Only 6,200 registered Southaven residents voted in the May 7 primary.
Both candidates would like to see a heavy voter turnout but both say they expect Tuesday's turnout to be even lighter.
Olive Branch residents will also go back to the polls Tuesday in two undecided Republican races. Voters were undecided in the GOP mayoral race between Art Shumway and Scott Phillips. Shumway received 32.28 percent of the vote (1,566 votes) while Phillips received 1,515 votes (31.23 percent).
A total of 4,851 votes were cast in the OB GOP mayoral primary.
In the Alderman ward primaries, Tuesday there will be a run-off election for Ward 1 between Don Tullos and Gil Earhart. Thirty-three votes separated the two candidates in the May 7 primary. Voters in OB's Ward 1 cast 538 votes for Tullos (49.68 percent) and 505 votes for Earhart (46.63 percent).
Mayor, alderman run-off in OB GOP primary
Musselwhite, Wheeler advance to Southaven mayoral run-off:
Voter turnout varies in DeSoto County primary
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