Light voting reported today in party primary runoffs

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 26, 2003

[8/26/03]Relatively few voters were casting ballots this morning as polls opened for primary runoff elections for two state offices.

Polls in Warren County’s 22 voting precincts were to remain open until 7 p.m.

Voters in Democratic and Republican primary runoffs were to decide each party’s nomination for state treasurer. Those choosing to cast ballots in the Republican primary also had a choice for that party’s nominee for commissioner of agriculture and commerce.

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For treasurer, the Democratic candidates are former state fiscal officer Gary Anderson of Jackson and state Sen. Robert H. “Rob” Smith of Richland. Those for the Republican nomination are former state transportation commissioner Wayne Burkes of Brandon and banker Tate Reeves of Jackson.

The two runoff winners will be on ballots, with the Reform Party’s Lee Dilworth of Jackson in the Nov. 5 general election.

Interim appointee Peyton D. Prospere is serving as treasurer following this year’s retirement of Marshall Bennett, who had held the post since 1987.

In the Republican runoff for commissioner of agriculture and commerce, longtime county and district agriculture official Roger D. Crowder of Louisville and cattleman and former agriculture loan officer Max Phillips of Taylorsville are the candidates.

The winner will face Democratic incumbent Lester Spell, who was unopposed in his primary, and the Reform Party’s Bob Claunch of Diamondhead.

The runoff candidates were the top two vote-getters in their races, each of which had more than two candidates in Aug. 5 statewide balloting. People who cast ballots in one party’s primary then may not vote in the other party’s primary today.

“Last time I had 95 in the first hour,” Culkin precinct poll manager Diane Pennington said this morning. “This time I have eight in the first half-hour. I expect it to be slow.”

Voting was also reported slow at a sample of other precincts around the county.

At 7:10 a.m. Cedar Grove poll worker Norman Smith said no one had cast a ballot. And five minutes later Kings precinct poll was still waiting on its first voter of the day, manager Mary Jenkins said.

The busy time to vote will be “at 3:30, when people begin to get off work,” she said.

In what the Vicksburg Junior High School poll’s Angela Canizaro called “a very poor turnout” by 7:30 a.m., one person had voted there.

“I hope more people come out to vote, but I just don’t think there’s much interest in this runoff because the people of Vicksburg don’t personally know these candidates,” said Sid Tucker, poll manager at Plumbers & Pipefitters, where he said 10 people had voted by 7:35 a.m.

At No. 7 Firehouse on South Washington Street, voting began promptly at 7 a.m., and by 7:05, five people had voted. But poll manager Sue Campbell did not expect voting to continue at that rate.

In fact, Campbell said she had received only 200 ballots total, and she expected the vote to be extremely light.

By 7:16 a.m., six people had voted at the City Auditorium. Four had cast ballots at American Legion by 7:48 a.m.

Redwood Elementary School teacher Peggy Gouras rushed back to her car to get to school after voting at City Auditorium.

“I’m a teacher and think it’s a good example” to vote, she said. “I think it’s important and a privilege I cherish. I don’t think a lot of people realized today was a runoff.”

Since all primary elections for Warren County offices were decided in Aug. 5 voting, no candidates for those offices are on today’s ballots.

Across the state, there are six runoffs for state Senate and 13 for state House.

One of the Senate runoffs is for District 36, which includes parts of Claiborne, Jefferson, Copiah, Hinds and Lincoln counties. Sen. Lynn Posey of Union Church faces Vincent E. Davis of Fayette for the Democratic nomination. The winner will face Charles H. Stogner of Jackson in the general election.

Also in Claiborne County, Edward Goods and Ellis “Rickey” Neal Jr. are the candidates in a Democratic runoff for constable from the Eastern District. The winner will face independent Dewayne Thomas in the general election. Richard Moore, who currently serves in the post, is not seeking re-election.

In the race for Claiborne County District 1 Supervisor, Allen Burks and incumbent Albert Butler Sr. are meeting in a Democratic runoff. The winner will meet independent Francois D’Anjou in the general election.

In Sharkey County, Democratic runoffs will decide the nominees for coroner and the Democratic nominees for two other offices.

Ola Mae Holmes and Doug Moore are the candidates for Democratic nomination for coroner.

The race includes no independent or Republican on the November ballot.

Sheriff Jacob Cartlidge is being challenged by Lindsay Adams Jr. for the Democratic nomination. The winner advances to the general election to face independents Joe Ford, Alton Norris, Johnny Spand and Ellis Willard.

And Sharkey County District 2 Supervisor D.W. Johnson faces Melvin Jones in a runoff. The winner advances to the general election to face Leroy Smith Jr.