STARKVILLE – Following a tight primary, mayoral hopefuls Johnny Moore and Lynn Spruill will face-off in a runoff on Tuesday.
Spruill, 64, owns a property management firm, emphasizes her leadership experience in municipal government and touts a vision of strengthening the city’s economic vitality.
Moore, 56, is a real estate attorney who wants to cultivate a more business friendly image in Starkville and loosen up regulations in order to attract new businesses.
Both candidates are Democrats. With no other candidates in the race, the primary winner will cruise unopposed into City Hall.
The May 2 Democratic primary featured a three-way race for mayor between Moore, Spruill and 26-year old Damion Poe.
No candidate captured more than 50 percent of the vote in the primary. That triggered a runoff between Spruill and Moore, who each finished within about 80 votes of each other, according to certified election results.
Spruill led with 1,698 votes. Moore capture 1,615 votes. Poe finished a distant third, with 273 votes. Poe endorsed Spruill following his primary loss.
Spruill’s message emphasizes a need for Starkville to retain more Mississippi State University graduates and also wants to create stronger cooperative bonds between the city, the university and Oktibbeha County.
The candidate sees a vibrant downtown as key to population growth as well as economic growth.
Spruill co-owns a property management firm.
She was Starkville’s chief administrative officer from 2005 to 2013, serving under two different mayors during her tenure. She served as mayor of Addison, Texas from 1988-1993.
In 2013, after three new members took office, the Starkville Board of Aldermen fired Spruill on a 5-2 vote from her position as chief administrative officer. Mayor Parker Wiseman vetoed the action at the time, but aldermen voted to override his veto.
A Starkville native, Spruill graduated from MSU with a business degree in 1974. She was in the U.S. Navy from 1974 until 1981.
Moore has highlighted business-friendliness in his campaign. A key component of this would be an effort to streamline the development review process, according to the candidate.
Moore, of Moore Law Firm, has practiced law for 30 years in Starkville. He believes his experience in the private sector, particularly real estate, gives him insight into what businesses need and want.
Relations between the university and the city are almost non-existent in Moore’s estimation but he has pledged to remedy that.
A longtime resident of Starkville, Moore graduated from MSU in 1982 with a degree in accounting and received in law degree from the University of Mississippi in 1984.