Biloxi Woman Says She's Being Denied The Right To Run For Mayor - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

03/08/05

Biloxi Woman Says She's Being Denied The Right To Run For Mayor

Geraldine Kitchings said we could just call her "Jerri." And she'd like people in Biloxi to call her "Mayor."

Kitchings says she wants to run, to bring what she says is much needed new leadership to Biloxi. But she says the Democratic Executive Committee won't let her run for the city's top office.

Last Friday, Kitchings tried to qualify as a Democrat contender against Mayor A.J. Holloway.

"I was called by one of the committee members last night who said I didn't qualify. And I asked him the reason why, and the only thing he could tell me is because they didn't know me. I said, 'Excuse me?' I said,'That's a poor excuse to give me. You better come up with a better answer than that.'"

Kitchings said she was so mad she didn't remember the name of the person who called her.

Chris Moore says he was the one who delivered the news to Kitchings. Moore is the president of the Democratic Executive Committee. He says the committee voted not to endorse Kitchings because she's not a credible candidate, nor is she known within the party.

"We did not know this person, so we asked for a background check, and we found there were some questionable things, that she had had some run-ins with the legal system in more than one state," Moore said.

"We just didn't know her, not in the Democratic circles, and the committee voted unanimously not to certify her as a candidate for mayor."

Kitchings says that's not good enough and she will challenge the committee's decision.

"I'll just appeal the decision. Do what I have to do to appeal the decision. Hold up the election if I have to."

Biloxi Police Chief Bruce Dunagan ran a background check on Jerri Kitchings at the Democratic Executive Committee's request.

Dunagan confirms Kitchings has had some run-ins with the law. And the chief says she was convicted in Georgia of misdemeanor simple assault about ten years ago.

Kitchings does not deny that, and says she served one year of unsupervised probation.

by Marcia Hill

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