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Mindful of yard signs and voter lists,
runoff opponents canvass District 1

By Staff
KNOCKING ON DOORS District 1 Supervisor candidate Eddie Harper, left, talks about the upcoming runoff election with Don Herbert, a District 1 resident, while campaigning last week. PHOTO BY KYLE CARTER / THE MERIDIAN STAR
By Steve Gillespie / staff writer
Aug. 17, 2003
The candidates in Lauderdale County's District 1 supervisor's runoff were all hugs and smiles the night of the primary election earlier this month.
Now that the runoff election is near, Sidney Covington and Eddie Harper are concentrating on showing voters how far apart they really are.
She cited being president of the Boys and Girls Club for two years.
She said she also has served on the board of directors of the Meridian Symphony, Meridian Little Theatre, mental health association and other organizations.
Covington, 51, said she is running for office because she wants to help the community at a higher level of public service. She said she has the experience, skill and know-how to offer District 1 constituents as their supervisor.
Harper, 33, said he is running for office because he wants to do something good for his home county. He wants to build up the area with better jobs to attract more young people who would return home after college, including his own children.
The best candidate
Harper said he is concerned that District 1 will lose a voice over many issues if Covington is elected because he says she would have to exempt herself from several potential votes due to conflicts of interest that may come up because of her partnership with her husband, Jimmy Covington, in their retail and commercial development company.
She said county property they own is limited to two lots in Eagle Pointe, where they are planning on moving.
Covington said references to her husband and his business throughout the race have been unwarranted, saying it is not his campaign, but hers, and if she is elected it would be her office, not his.
Covington said she is the better choice for supervisor, but added it is sad to her that some people have expressed disappointment that she and Harper have been more than cordial.
Another friend of hers is Harvey Dees, manager of Dees Automotive in Meridian. He has been working on Covington's campaign by knocking on doors and delivering campaign signs to those who request them. He lives in the Bailey community, where Harper lives.
One of Harper's supporters is Winston Cameron, a Meridian resident, like Covington. An attorney for 56 years, Cameron said he has written about 50-60 letters to people asking them to vote for Harper.
Outgoing District 1 Supervisor, Hank Florey, did not publicly endorse a candidate for the primary, but did say he would keep the option open, depending on who is in the runoff.
Last week he said he would not endorse either Covington or Harper.
There are still similarities
Both Covington and Harper have for sale signs in their yards. Covington, who lives in Meridian, said she and her husband plan to move to the Eagle Pointe subdivision. Harper, who lives in Bailey, said he is going to build a new house on an adjoining lot near his current home.
Both have been canvassing District 1 homes in the evenings and on Saturdays, riding in pick-up trucks with lists of voters at their fingertips.
Both consider economic development as the top priority with which the District 1 supervisor should be concerned.
Both have said they believe they can help the members of the Board of Supervisors work better as a group.
Harper said he plans to propose quarterly meetings between supervisors and city officials of Marion and Meridian to build trust and relationships.
Covington said her strengths in problem solving and conflict resolution from her counseling experience will be helpful to the board.