Another candidate from DeSoto County has qualified for state-level political office, with the announcement from Jerry Darnell that he is running for House District 28 state representative.
The Hernando Republican has qualified to have his name on the Aug. 6 primary election ballot for the seat now held by state Rep. Robert Foster, who opted during the current election cycle to be a candidate for the Republican nomination for governor.
Darnell’s career has primarily been in education and, while not immediately announcing a platform, he admitted that education would be one of his main issues.
“I just want to help the people of District 28 where I live,” Darnell said Monday. “I’ve been in education for 32 years as a teacher, assistant principal and principal. I’ve been at the (DeSoto County Schools) district office for the last seven years and education means a lot to me.”
Darnell grew up in Coldwater and graduated from Coldwater High School.
He then graduated from the University of Mississippi with a bachelor’s degree and started his teaching career as a math teacher at Independence High School from 1989-1993.
Darnell was also elected as an alderman in Coldwater for three terms, from 1989-1997 and ran unsuccessfully for DeSoto County Schools superintendent in 2015, the last year the office was an elected position.
Darnell received his Master's Degree in Educational Leadership, which led to him being named the assistant principal at Hope Sullivan Elementary School, where he served from 1993-1997.
He served as principal of Hope Sullivan Elementary School from 1997-2006, as principal of Hernando Middle School from 2006 until 2009, and at Oak Grove Central Elementary School from 2009 until 2012.
Darnell is currently serving as Executive Director of Academic Services for the DeSoto County School District.
Friday, March 1 is the deadline day for candidates to qualify for elected office in the August primary vote. A Monday afternoon check of the Mississippi Republican Party website, which updates the names of candidates for the state-level offices each Friday, indicated Darnell was the only party candidate running for District 28 House.
Democrats in the state are not making their candidates names public until after the qualifying deadline has passed through their party headquarters, although individual candidates have made their own announcements.
No candidates from the Democratic party have as yet indicated they would challenge Darnell for the seat.
Bob Bakken is Staff Writer for the DeSoto Times-Tribune.