Terry mayoral hopeful continues push for ballot spot - WLBT.com - Jackson, MS

05/21/09

Terry mayoral hopeful continues push for ballot spot

By Cheryl Lasseter - bio | email

JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - A lot is resting on the Hinds County Circuit Court's decision about whether the Town of Terry's Democratic Executive Committee should be recognized. Cedric Abston will find out whether he'll clinch a spot on the June 2 ballot as a Democratic mayoral candidate.  Incumbent Mayor Roderick Nicholson, an Independent, will learn if he'll face a contender for his seat.

Nicholson is not named as a party in this courtroom battle.  We asked him why he came to court.  "I'm here in support of the clerk and Election Commission," he said.

Back in March, the Election Commission tried to disqualify Abston himself on the grounds he didn't live in Terry. But he does, so that issue was abandoned. Now they're asserting Terry's Democratic party isn't legit and should not be recognized.

Abston contends the party was disqualified without a hearing first. "There was no notice issued to the Democratic party. There was no notice issued to Mr. Abston as a candidate," says Hal Dockins, attorney for Abston and the Executive Committee.

Not much happened in court Thursday. Abston's team was told to attach the proper statute to their petition for judicial review of the issue, and have it ready for another hearing next Tuesday. "Clarify everything, get it all cleared up and I will be back on the ballot," Abston says.

Terry's Court Clerk, Mary Smith, is named as a defendant in the fight, along with the Election Commission. Judge Swan Yerger says Mary Smith authored a letter announcing the Terry Democratic party's disqualification, but the letter is undated.

WLBT News went to Terry City Hall to talk to Smith, but no one was there.  City Hall was closed for mandatory court training.

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