Johnson vs. Melton: Hope may be deciding factor in Tuesday’s election

From a distance, Tuesday’s three-person Democratic mayoral primary in Jackson doesn’t look like much of a contest.

The incumbent is the ideal candidate. He is a two-term mayor. Crime, identified as the city’s top issue, is down. Parts of downtown Jackson are buzzing with development projects.

Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr. knows city government backward and forward. His integrity is unquestioned.

One challenger, Annell Smith, has no experience, no name recognition and even less in campaign cash. By any measure, she is not a serious threat.

Frank Melton shouldn’t be a threat, either, not when you juxtapose his credentials with Johnson’s. Melton is a former TV executive who also served as Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics director.

Not only has he never been elected to a political office, but also Melton just started voting two years ago.

But this election is not about experience, credentials or pedigree. Unfortunately for Johnson, it’s all about hope.

Eric Stringfellow
Clarion Ledger