Voter Turnout ImprovesBy MARLAN JONES,
The polls closed at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday November 6, and the results began being tallied shortly after. The Simpson County Courthouse was packed with family and friends of hopeful candidates eagerly awaiting the outcome of local races. The national attention was focused on the senate races and who would emerge as the representatives of the Congressional Districts. Voter participation was up compared to recent elections. Over 50 percent of the 16,936 voters in Simpson County participated in the election.
Mississippi is unquestionably a red state and the voting results reflected this. In Simpson County for the US Senate Full Term race, incumbent Roger Wicker won by a large margin. Wicker received 5,677 votes opposed to Democratic candidate David Baria’s 2,851 votes. Wicker accounted for 65 percent of the ballots cast in Simpson County. The same trend was true for the state. The overall results reflected Wicker receiving 517,475 votes which was good for 58 percent of the total ballots cast.
The US Senate special election which was being held to replace former Senator Thad Cochran failed to produce a winner. Cindy Hyde Smith who was appointed by Governor Phil Bryant as Senator in April clearly won Simpson County with 4,562 votes. The other contending candidate Mike Espy received 3,094 votes. The overall totals for the state were closer. Espy and Hyde-Smith were nearly even. Espy received 40 percent of the total ballots and Hyde-Smith received 41 percent which sends this race to a runoff.
Republican candidate Michael Guest will be representing the Third Congressional District. Guest received 5,841 votes in Simpson County which registered as 65 percent of the votes. He received 155,857 votes within the district and thoroughly won the race.
Several judge seats were featured on the ballot. David M. Ishee ran unopposed for the Supreme Court District 2 seat. David McCarty won Simpson County with 3,493 votes for District 4 position 2.
Chancery Court District 13 Place 1 was a close race between John Alan Buffington and incumbent James David Shoemake. Shoemake won Simpson County with 52 percent (4,195) of the votes opposed to Buffington’s 47 percent (3,796).
Gerald M. Martin will retain his position as Chancery Court Judge District 13 Place 2. Eddie Bowen will remain Ciruit Court Judge of District 13 Place 1, and Stanley Sorey will continue as Circuit Court Judge District 13 Place 2.
The results left two local races undecided. The position of Justice Court Judge Post 2 produced three candidates. Tracey Brown, Lorie King, and Charles Savell all received similar support. Savell emerged as the leader with 1,620 votes which was good for 36 percent. Tracey Brown was a close second with 1,514 votes which accounted for 33 percent of the total ballots. King registered 1,342 votes for 29 percent. Brown and Savell will be facing each other in a runoff to determine the winner.
Constable Post 2 will feature a runoff between Dusty Drennan and Christopher R. Jones. Drennan received 47 percent of the ballots. He was just shy of the 50 percent plus 1 vote needed to be declared the winner. Drennan is the incumbent, but Jones has proven himself to be a strong challenger receiving 29 percent of the ballots. Candidates Joe Garner and Joe Purser combined for over 1,000 votes. Their supporters will be important in determining the outcome of this race. Election Commissioner District 3 Donna Magee ran unopposed and will retain her position.
There was some controversy over how the School Board races were decided. School Board Districts 2, 3, and 4 were featured on the ballot. In District 2 Patrice Boykin registered 795 votes which was 44 percent of the ballots. Sandrena Durr accounted for 34 percent of the votes with 605.
In District 3 Danny Cowart emerged as the winner with 787 votes which was more than 50 percent. District 4 produced another situation in which a candidate did not receive at least 50 percent of the votes. Stanley Bulger led all candidates in District 4 with 664 votes and was followed by Chris May with 544 votes. Several constituents were under the impression that Districts 2 and 4 would require a runoff to determine the winner. It was later stated by the Circuit Clerks office that a runoff would not be necessary and that the candidates who received the majority vote would be declared the winner. The statement came after contact was made with the Attorney General’s office.
Patrice Boykin, Danny Cowart, and Stanley Bulger will represent School Board Districts 2, 3, and 4 respectively. MS code 37-5-9 governs School Board elections. It states that, “The candidate in each supervisor’s district who receives the highest number of votes cast in the district shall be declared elected.” The new School Board members must be sworn in before the first board meeting of 2019.
The runoff elections will be held on November 27, and will feature the following races: Senate- Mike Espy and Cindy Hyde-Smith, Justice Court Judge Post 2- Tracey Brown and Charles Savell, and Constable Post 2- Dusty Drennan and Christopher Jones.
Everyone in encouraged to return to the polls and cast their votes.