Natchez Democratic Primary has wealth of mayoral experience - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Natchez Democratic Primary has wealth of mayoral experience

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NATCHEZ, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Five candidates are in the running to become the next mayor of Natchez. The city's one term incumbent is facing a challenge from two men who once held the job.

Sixty-one-year-old Jake Middleton, the incumbent, is running on his record.

"We have brought the city around in the last four years, to where we have brought in six new industries, 750 new permanent jobs" said Middleton. "We have reduced our debt by about a million dollars a year."

Middleton has protesters marching in front of city hall upset about him not voting to break a three to three tie between black and white members of the city council over naming an interim black police chief to the permanent position.

"Had the black members of the board not got up and walked out, I would have voted the same way they voted" said Middleton.

Four years ago, Middleton defeated former mayor and state representative, 65 year old Phillip West, who is determined to get his old position back.

"I am the only candidate in this race whose only concern is about the future of the city, and the people of Natchez and Adams County" said West. "Get beyond the racial divide. Concentrate on doing things that are right, and are not black or white."

Another former mayor in the race is 68 year old Larry L. "Butch" Brown. He most recently served as executive director of the state department of transportation and also wants his old mayor's job back.

We are a diverse community, always have been" said Brown. "Black folks built Natchez and the white folks paid for it. And now it's time we move on in the new century and become a part of reality."

It's a unique election in a unique city on the Mississippi River that has been here since 1716.

There are five candidates for mayor, three Democrats, a Republican and an Independent.

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