Multiple mayoral candidates seek to replace Gist

JACKSON, Tenn. — The title of mayor of Jackson is quickly becoming a highly sought-after position.

“The simple fact that the incumbent isn’t running means more people think they have a better chance of winning,” said Dr. Sean Evans, professor of political science at Union University.

We now have six candidates running for mayor of Jackson. They are Scott Conger, Jimmy Eldridge, Vicky Foote, Daryl Hubbard, Mark Johnstone and Dr. Jerry Woods. All of the candidates are vying to replace outgoing mayor Jerry Gist.

“The most obvious reason more people are running for mayor is that there is an open seat,” Evans said.

Some say there are a few key issues in this year’s race, including education, transportation and economic development.

Evans said the particular candidate voters would be drawn to would depend on what the voter sees as the most important issue.

“If they think it’s education, it might be one candidate. If it’s transportation, it may be another,” Evans said.

Another thing that may make certain candidates stand out is previous experience and money raised for their campaign.

Jimmy Eldridge was a state representative for 16 years and has so far raised the most money for his campaign.

Scott Conger, former president of LANA, raised the second highest amount of money.

Jerry Woods is an educator associated with Lane College and the only African American in the race.

Mark Johnstone is a local businessman and previously served on the Madison County Commission.

Evans says Johnstone’s support base may overlap with Jimmy Eldridge’s support base.

Vicky Foote represents south Jackson on the Jackson City Council and is the only candidate from that area.

“I think as we move forward, I think what we will most likely see is that it may be difficult for any one candidate to get 50 percent of the vote,” Evans said.

Madison County voters will make their decision May 7.

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