BY ANDREW ELLISON, WREG
SOUTHAVEN, Miss. — Candidates for a special election in Southaven were campaigning at a polling place Tuesday, but one candidate turned heads by flying a Confederate flag outside the polls.
Don Daniels is one of seven candidates trying to win the seat vacated by former alderman Ronnie Hale in December.
Hale resigned after being charged with transporting child porn. He’s accused of having sexually explicit pictures and videos of children on his computer.
Daniels says his reason for flying the flag is noble.
“That particular Confederate flag represents the veterans of the Confederate War. It’s not the battle flag. It’s not the official flag of the Confederate Government,” Daniels says.
But candidate Brenda Anderson doesn’t buy it. She says the flag represents the oppression of African Americans.
“There’s a lot of racial undertones and I think he’s not actually flying it because it’s for the veterans, but whatever his reasons are, I don’t think they’re justifiable for this particular special election,” she says.
Candidate Harold Moore isn’t bothered by it.
“I’m a veteran. I fought for the opportunity for him to fly the flag,” he says. “That’s his right and I back his right, just like I back mine not to fly it.”
Candidates Greg Paylor and Norine Sloan say it wasn’t the time or place for something like that.
“I just think it’s in bad taste. I mean he has his right to fly it but it’s in bad taste,” Paylor says.
“It makes me feel kind of bad that it’s out here. I would have liked it not to have been, but I’m not going to put the person down that did it. I’ll leave that to everybody to do that for themselves,” Sloan says.
Candidate Johnny Johnson has no problem with it, but says it’s a bad idea.
“My ancestors fought for the South against Northern aggression, but I think, in this context, it’s divisive,” Johnson says.
Candidate Charlie Hoots, a former WREG employee, also thinks it divisive.
“You know, I said something to him earlier about it. I told him I thought it was inappropriate and I said I think it goes against the spirit of what we’re trying to do here. We’re trying to show unity and get everybody involved and stuff,” he says.
The polls close at 7 pm. The polling location is the Desoto County Justice Court building.