Chokwe A. Lumumba wins Jackson primary, likely next mayor

Print More

Chokwe A. Lumumba at a campaign rally.

After losing a race to replace his late father as mayor in 2014, Chokwe A. Lumumba has captured the Democratic nomination and will likely be the next mayor of Mississippi’s capital and largest city.

Lumumba, a 34-year-old attorney, received 18,167 votes, or 55 percent, Tuesday in the 10-way contest.  Just before 10 p.m., Sen. John Horhn conceded the election, saying that a runoff appeared unnecessary.

At a victory party in downtown Jackson, Lumumba led supporters in a rendition of the gospel song Victory is Mine, according to video tweets from Clarion-Ledger reporter Anna Wolfe.

Ahead of the election, a April 28 poll showed Lumumba leading the pack with 29 percent. Hinds County Supervisor Robert Graham and state Sen. John Horhn followed with 20 and 19 percent, respectively. The poll, conducted by Millsaps College and Chism Strategies, a Democratic polling firm, also showed that 17 percent remained undecided before the election.

Lumumba made infrastructure a focal point of his campaign. He vows to combine proceeds from the city’s 1-percent sales tax, which generates $13 million per year to help pay for infrastructure repairs, with grants, bonds and other financial instruments to raise $500 million.

Lumumba said he would take a $25,000 pay cut if elected (the mayor currently earns $120,000 a year) and reduce costs in the mayor’s office. He counts his youth as an asset.

“With past experience, you get what you’ve gotten in the past,” Lumumba said.

He also said that economic development and job creation, not more police, would solve Jackson’s crime woes and said he supports elected members of the Jackson Public Schools board. Currently, the mayor appoints and the city council confirms members of the school board.

Horhn, a state senator since 1993, had twice run for mayor before finishing in second place Tuesday with 7,165 votes. The cornerstones of Horhn’s capstone were in infrastructure and crime.

“The question is not why I’m running (again) but why we aren’t getting these problems solved,” Horhn said in a recent debate at Mississippi College School of Law.

Tony Yarber, the incumbent mayor, conceded early in the evening after finishing with about 6 percent of votes. 

The general election takes place June 6. Lumumba will face the winner of Tuesday’s Republican primary, Jason D. Wells, and several independent candidates.