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Bolton’s loss puts two new faces at BOS table. Prine defeats Gates for constable, while Mathis looks set to replace late husband on county board of education
From Staff Reports
After months of campaigning and pushing residents to get engaged in the process roughly 45 percent of registered voters turned out in Perry County on Tuesday to vote in the General Election.
With the top political posts in the county and state on the ballot, 3,848 voters went to their polling places on Tuesday or voted by absentee ballot. Several new faces won top positions in the General Election, but most incumbents that survived the primaries fared well in the General Election.
One race that turned heads was for the Dist. 1 seat on the Perry County Board of Supervisors in which incumbent Bobby Ray Bolton was defeated by Independent Robert Terrell Myers. Bolton, who is the longest-serving member of the current board, lost by a 50-vote margin (443-to-393) to Myers, who will now be one of two new members on the county’s top governing board when the new term begins in January. Republican Cody Walters will be the other new board member after defeating incumbent Dist. 5 Supervisor Marc Williams in the primary. Kevin Shows (Dist.2), Tim Wise (Dist. 3) and Richard Lott (Dist. 4) all survived primary challenges to earn re-election.
In the race for Perry County Sheriff, Republican Jacob Lamar Garner easily defeated Independent Jeremy McSwain. Garner claimed 2,528 votes (66 percent) compared to the Beaumont police chief’s 1,250. Garner defeated incumbent Mitch Nobles in the Republican Primary to make the General Election.
Republican Colby Prine claimed nearly 60 percent of the vote to win the race for Dist. 2 Constable. Prine defeated Democrat Curtis Gates by a 1,207-to-750 vote differential to claim the law enforcement post.
Neither candidate in the race for the open Dist. 5 seat on the Perry County Board of Education secured votes from over 50 percent of all voters that went to the polls on Tuesday . However, since the lone write-in vote and any ballots left blank do not factor into the totals, Frances Mathis appears to have earned the post with 240 votes, compared to Carolyn Hartfield-Bishop’s 222. Counting just the 462 legitimate ballots, Mathis got 51.9 percent of Tuesday’s vote total. There are 25 affidavits yet to be factored in, but those aren’t expected to impact the outcome in the race.
Greene County resident Elliot Burch easily defeated Democrat Matthew Daves to win the Dist. 105 seat in the Mississippi House of Representatives. Burch, who defeated incumbent Dale Goodin in the Republican Primary, claimed 2,158 votes in Perry County, compared to Daves’ 765. Burch won handily in Greene County and in the two precincts in George County that are part of the district.
In the race for House Dist. 86, Incumbent Republican Shane Barnett was defeated in Greene County by Democrat Annita Bonner by a 16-vote margin, but took his Perry county precincts by a solid margin and then dominated in his home county of Wayne. In Perry County, Barnett dominated claimed 697 votes compared to just 81 for Bonner, while in Wayne County he beat Bonner by a 4,799-to-2,695 margin.
At the statewide level, Republican Gov. Tate Reeves won a second term over challenger Brandon Presley in a race that was unusually competitive for this GOP stronghold. But Reeves held Presley off, holding a 52-to- 47 percent lead Wednesday morning. Third-party candidate Gwendolyn Gray, an independent, garnered about two percent.
The margins of victory for Reeves in Perry and Greene counties were much larger than the statewide totals. Here, Reeves claimed 67.28 percent of the vote, while in Greene County, he took over 71 percent.
The governor’s margin of victory, which stood at just under 39,000 votes with 95 percent of precincts reporting, is expected to shrink slightly as tens of thousands of votes remained uncounted in Hinds County.
The hard-fought contest was disrupted by a voting mess when polling places in the state’s largest county ran out of ballots and voters endured long lines in the key Democratic stronghold. One judge ordered all polls in the county to remain open an extra hour, until 8 p.m. CST. Another judge said four polling places in some suburbs of Jackson had to extend voting until 9 p.m.
Hinds County election commissioners — all Democrats — were said to have underestimated the turnout and failed to have enough ballots on hand. Long lines of frustrated voters were kept waiting for batches of ballots that arrived and then ran out again.
None of those issues seemed to matter in other contested down ballot races, where incumbent statewide office holders faired very well. Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann, Secretary of State Michael Watson, Attorney General Lynn Fitch, State Auditor Shad White, State Treasurer David McCrae, Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce Andy Gipson and State Insurance Commissioner, all Republicans, won by similar margins of roughly 60-to-40 percent over their challengers.
Republican Charles Busby easily defeated Independent Steven Brian Griffin in the race for the open Southern District seat on the Mississippi Transportation Commission. Busby won handily in Perry County, claiming 2,8146 votes to Griffin’s 770.
Election officials are meeting to review affidavit ballots on Wednesday and again next week to certify results after the required timeframe for mailed absentee ballots to arrive and voters with contested ballots to provide documentation to validate their vote.