By Josh Troy
A special election to fill the Clarksdale Ward 2 Commissioner seat previously held by the late Ken Murphey, will be Oct. 3.
Murphey, who served as the Ward 2 Commissioner from 2013 to 2023, died Aug. 23.
The qualifying deadline for the special election is Sept. 13. All candidates must receive 50 signatures on a petition from Ward 2 residents registered to vote. There are no party lines for the special election.
The City Clerk’s office is recommending candidates get at least 100 signatures from Ward 2 residents in case some of the signatures are not from residents who are qualified to sign. The Election Commission will check the signatures after the Sept. 13 filing deadline.
If none of the candidates receive 50% plus one of the votes in the Oct. 3 election, a runoff will be Oct. 24.
During a recent Clarksdale Board of Mayor and Commissioners meeting, the following items were unanimously approved for the election:
•Paying the Resolution Board $125 for each day it has to meet during the special election;
•Paying poll worker managers $125 and returning and receiving managers $145 and poll workers training at $10 per hour;
•Having six poll workers in Ward 2 during the election and runoff; and
•Entering into an agreement with ES&S for election support.
Espy spoke about Murphey at the beginning of the meeting.
“I walked in the door,” Espy said. “It was five of us. Now, it’s four of us right here and I know we just laid to rest Commissioner of Ward 2 Ken Murphey. You know you don’t like things to change sometimes, an uncomfortable pair of shoes.
“I’m going to miss my friend. I’m going to miss him. You don’t want things to change, but God has another plan and I’m willing to accept that.”
Espy said one’s mind becomes convoluted until coming to the meeting and seeing what is important when someone is missing.
“God bless his (Murphey) family,” Espy said. “God bless all of the people and the lives that he touched and I will forever miss him. It’s just not the same. A lot of things change. Hopefully, the change will bring about better things for our City. I’m just remembering my friend as I walked in.”
Espy spoke about people in the room. He mentioned knowing former City Clerk and current City Consultant Cathy Clark for many years. He said he loved Clark.
Espy said he appreciated Ward 4 Commissioner Ed Seals’ work as a teacher for many years, Ward 3 Commissioner Willie Turner’s friendship, and the way he could always talk with Ward 1 Commissioner Bo Plunk.
“It was a machine,” Espy said. “It was our machine. Ken even said it was the best he had ever seen and I miss him.”
Plunk said all the Board of Mayor and Commissioners were at Murphey’s funeral at the Clarksdale Civic Auditorium on Aug. 26. Plunk said he believed Murphey was looking down smiling.
“He told us all he ain’t got no friends,” Plunk said. “He got proven wrong yesterday (Saturday).”
Eight prospective candidates expressed interest in running for the Ward 2 Commissioner position.
Alfred Allen, Shannon Dixon, Alfred Kemp, George Hines Jr., and Janise Ray turned in petitions with at least 50 signatures along with his qualifying statement of intent.
Allasica Byrd, Calvin Glover, and Jimmy Harris all picked up petitions from City Hall expressing interest in running for the Ward 2 Commissioner seat.