Candidates begin qualifying for chancery court race

January 3, 2018 11:51:19 AM

Alex Holloway - [email protected]


Four candidates, including three from Starkville, have qualified to seek judicial positions on the Mississippi 14th Chancery District Court. 


Qualifications for the non-partisan race, for which elections will be held on Nov. 6, opened on Tuesday. They will remain open until May 11. 


Two Starkville candidates -- Ward 6 Alderman Roy A. Perkins and attorney Paula Drungole-Ellis -- have qualified to run for the subdistrict 14-3 seat, which is currently occupied by Judge Dorothy W. Colom. 


Starkville attorney Lee Ann Turner and Okolona attorney Gene Barton qualified to seek the subdistrict 14-1 seat, which is currently occupied by Judge Kenneth Burns.  


Both Colom and Burns have indicated they will not seek another term. 


Judge H.J. Davidson, who holds the subdistrict 14-2 seat, also confirmed to The Dispatch he is not planning to seek re-election. No candidates had qualified for the seat as of press time Wednesday. 


The 14th Chancery District serves Chickasaw, Clay, Lowndes, Noxubee, Oktibbeha and Webster counties. 


Perkins, who has served as an alderman since 1993 and has practiced law for 29 years, unsuccessfully sought a circuit court judge seat in 2006 against Jim Kitchens. After that, he said, he decided to wait until a chancery judge position opened to seek election. 


"I got a lot of valuable experience from seeking the circuit judge position," Perkins said. "After much thought and deliberation, I decided to pursue a chancery judge position next time there was an open seat. Now, with a vacancy at the end of this year with the retirement of senior chancery judge Dorothy W. Colom, I'm running." 


The subdistrict 14-3 seat covers all of Noxubee County and portions of Clay, Lowndes and Oktibbeha counties. 


Perkins said he's tried and argued a "multitude" of chancery court cases across the state through his career, including one case before the Mississippi Supreme Court in 1997 that originated in chancery court. 


"I'm looking forward to it," Perkins said. "I'm very enthusiastic about it. I'm very confident about it, and I'm looking forward to continuously meeting people throughout the district in all the counties. I have a constant presence in the district -- no place in the district is a strange place to me." 


If Perkins is elected, he will have to step down from his seat on the board of aldermen. Should that happen, he said he'd serve through the end of the year and step down before being sworn-in as chancellor in January. The city would then hold a special election to fill his seat for the remainder of the current board term. 


The Dispatch could not reach Drungole-Ellis, Turner or Barton by press time.