Despite rumors on social media that Hattiesburg businessman and developer Rob Tatum will run for mayor in 2021, Tatum said there is “zero truth” to those speculations.
“I have no idea where that came from,” said Tatum, who developed the Hub City Lofts, The District at Midtown and The Claiborne at Hattiesburg. “I don’t know where that even starts – the words ‘I want to run for mayor’ have never come out of my mouth. We just started a new business as well, and I’m trying to grow my existing assets.”
The notion was posted June 11 on Facebook by former Mississippi Senate chaplain Ben B. James, who wrote, “I have heard on very good authority that my good lifelong friend and Hattiesburg mayor Rob Tatum will be running against Toby (Barker) in the next Mayors election.”
Samantha McCain, chief communications officer for the City of Hattiesburg, said while the upcoming elections – both in November and next June – are widely important to the future of the city, state and country, Barker will announce his re-election bid when the timing is right and when “it’s appropriate” to do so.
“Right now, our focus is on helping our community to navigate the effects of COVID-19, building stronger relationships between our police department and neighborhoods, finalizing our fifth completed audit in three years and working on the Fiscal Year 2020-21 budget – which includes advancing and completing approximately $20 million in infrastructure projects throughout all five wards of Hattiesburg,” she said.
Municipal elections in Mississippi will be held in June 2021. The mayor and five city council members will serve a four-year term.
Barker is in his first term as mayor and took office in 2017. He defeated four-term incumbent Johnny DuPree to take the office.