D’IBERVILLE, Miss. (WLOX) - South Mississippi is gearing up for municipal elections, but one candidate in D’Iberville has been ruled out due to a last minute opinion from the state attorney general.
Just days before the 2021 qualifying deadline, Attorney General Lynn Fitch released an opinion that clarifies how long someone has to live in a ward before running for their city council or board of aldermen.
A candidate must be a resident of the city and the ward they’re running in for at least two years in order to qualify for the race, which is a qualification that now derails Zach Grady’s dreams.
The former D’Iberville police officer launched his bid for Ward 3 councilman last year in December.
“For at least the last decade of my life this has been a dream of mine,” said Grady. I always knew I was going to do it.”
However, Fitch’s opinion ripped his name off of this year’s ballot.
“I wasn’t notified until the day before the deadline to qualify.” said Grady.
Grady missed the two-year mark by five months, after he and his wife purchased her childhood home just a mile from their previous house. The attorney general’s opinion caused setbacks for the campaign.
“We spent a lot of money,” said Grady. “A lot of time and effort. We actually campaigned for an entire month.”
However, Grady is not going down without a fight by filing a petition against the opinion in circuit court.
“People should have a choice to vote for the person they want to represent them,” said Grady.
While the former officer awaits for the date for his challenge, he said he’s preparing for the decision whether it’s in his favor or not.
“I trust the system. I trust the process,” said Grady. “I believe the right decision will be made whatever that decision is.”
In the meantime, all he can hope for is that his dream will become a reality.
“I believe this city and this community is worth fighting for and that’s what I’m going to do,” said Grady. “I’m going to fight for what I believe is right.”
The municipal primary election is April 6th.