Regan, Thomason head to runoff for coroner

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 8, 2000

Warren County coroner candidates John Thomason, center left, and Ronald Regan ponder election returns Tuesday night. With Thomason are, from left, neighbor Jennifer Johnson, daughter Shannon Thomason and neighbor Mac McKnight. Regan watches returns at the courthouse. (The Vicksburg Post/PAT SHANNAHAN)

Two local funeral directors will face each other in a Nov. 21 runoff election for coroner in Warren County after easily outdistancing their competitors in Tuesday’s five-way race.

Ronald Regan, who has held the post since Aug. 14, led the field with 6,172 votes, while John Thomason III was close behind with 5,598. Regan is with Jefferson Funeral Home, and Thomason is with Fisher-Riles.

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Since neither received a majority, a runoff election will decide who will serve the three years remaining in the term of former long-time coroner L.W. Callaway III. Coroners make rulings on deaths that result from trauma or when a person is not under a physician’s care.

Regan, deputy coroner for seven years, was appointed by the Warren County Board of Supervisors to fill the spot when they hired Callaway as new emergency management director in August.

Thomason, 42, is making his second run for coroner. He lost to Callaway in 1983.

Regan, 47, said he is not surprised by the outcome. “With so many candidates, a runoff is pretty much what I expected,” Regan said. “I’m looking forward to it.”

Thomason said he is proud of every vote he received, and now is ready to gear up for the runoff.

“A lot of it is going to depend on how the other candidates throw their endorsements,” he said.

The three other candidates garnered a combined total of 5,466 votes, and Thomason said those candidates’ supporters could be the deciding factor in the runoff.

Allen Maxwell, 52, finished in third place with 2,360 votes. Maxwell, a former military policeman with degrees in public administration and criminal justice, said he wanted to thank his supporters and let them know they shouldn’t count him out of the public eye just yet.

“It was my first time to ever run for elected office,” he said. “I enjoyed it, and I hope to do it again.”

Wanda Shay Clark Odom, 43, manager of Williams Funeral Service, took 1,504 votes, and 39-year-old former policeman and deputy sheriff Mark Morgan took 1,602 votes.