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Changing demographics in DeSoto County in play during municipal elections

Black candidates are trying to make history in the fast growing and diversifying north Mississippi county.

DESOTO COUNTY, Miss — Despite steady rains across DeSoto County Tuesday, Democrat and Republican organizers didn't let it dampen their enthusiasm during the municipal elections. 

"I think we have a good slate of candidates. I think we have a good slate of incumbents," Jeanette Hollowell with the DeSoto County Republican Women said. 

"When you see and talk to the voters, they are excited. They are coming out," DeSoto County Democratic Party Executive  Committee Chairman David Olds added.

"I was the first stone, so we are just going to keep on stacking it, stacking it until we get there," Hester Jackson-McCray, (D) MS State House 40, said. 

Jackson-McCray made history in 2019 as the first Black woman to represent DeSoto County in the state legislature.

Tuesday, additional milestones could be set, with more candidates of color running for office in the fast growing and diversifying county between 2000 and 2020.

"Everybody is out here. We've got Democrats, Republicans. We've got young, old, African-American, Caucasians," Jackson-McCray said.

Donald Hall - running against Republican Ken Adams - would be the first Black mayor of Olive Branch, Mississippi, if elected.

Leaders of both parties locally acknowledge the changing electorate.

Pam McKelvy is also attempting to become the first Black woman alderman in Southaven, MS.

"As far as trends, there is a lot of diversity and a lot of inclusion, so that's exciting. It's not the usual status quo," Olds said.

"We are growing at such a rapid speed that it's so important that we keep up with the people, keep in touch with the people," Hollowell added.