Pettus: Name recognition key in mayor race

WITH 15 HOPEFULS — 10 Democrats, one Republican and four independents – the 2009 Jackson mayoral race begs the slogan, “It’s the name recognition, stupid.”

In that regard, a squad of Davids is pitted against a detachment of Goliaths.

At least one of those Davids – John H. Jones Jr. – has faith in an Old Testament outcome.

“Everyone has a decent chance of winning,” said Jones, 54, “because, with such a large number of candidates, the votes will be so fragmented.”

When voters go to the polls in party primaries on May 5, Jones, an underdog Democrat and political newcomer, might be vindicated – to a point.

“It doesn’t look like there’s anyone who will walk away with it,” said Steve Rozman, a political science professor at Tougaloo College.

“I’ve been here 37 years, and I don’t remember this many candidates running for mayor of Jackson before. Someone who is a strong candidate could be eliminated.”

D’Andra Orey, chairman of the political science department at Jackson State University, put it this way: “Given the large field, it’s possible that getting only 20 percent of the vote will get you into a runoff.”