Flanders says he won’t contest Lauderdale’s win|[11/08/07]

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 8, 2007

District 4 Supervisor Carl Flanders said he has no plans to question the result voters in southeast Warren County dealt to him Tuesday.

Easily the most outspoken supervisor otherwise left intact this election year, the 38-year-old former elementary school teacher was bounced from office by just 41 votes out of 2,449 cast.

Still uncertified totals gave former supervisor Bill Lauderdale 1,013 votes to Flanders’ 972 votes. Republican C.L. “Buddy” Hardy finished third with 463 votes. Four years ago, Flanders ousted Lauderdale by 189 votes.

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People associated with Flanders’ re-election bid monitored voting at the district’s four precincts thoroughout the process, he said, leading to his confidence in the tally.

“No one has brought anything to me that is startling, by any means,” Flanders said from his home Wednesday, a day spent starting the process of picking up the multitude of campaign signs around the area.

As for Flanders’ future, he reiterated he and his wife, Tiffany, will keep options open.

“We both have degrees. There’s lots of things we can do in this great country,” he said.

Flanders’ four years have been marked by pushes for the supervisors to open up, create a Web presence with information about county business, develop more stringent personnel review policies and he wanted a forum staged for those in charge of perennially high gas prices in Vicksburg to meet the public. He rarely prevailed.

Otherwise, those who campaigned their way into victory in Tuesday’s general election pulled out all the usual stops in getting their target voters to the polls, what’s known in campaigns simply as “G-O-T-V.”

“I concentrated on getting out the vote,” said Rep. George Flaggs, D-Vicksburg, who found himself having to bone up on winning elections after not facing opposition of any kind since 1995.

Flaggs fended off a challenge by minister and auto dealer Rick McAlister, winning with more than 73 percent of the vote.

Direct mail and strategic placement of campaign signs and literature played a part in a winning strategy, he said.

“All politics starts at the grass roots,” Flaggs said.

Ricky Smith’s drubbing of incumbent District Attorney Gil Martin was a “life-changing moment,” the attorney said Wednesday. He said the effort to win the three-county office was augmented by a significant number of volunteers who aided his campaign staff by participating in direct mail-outs and telephone push-calls.

“It made a difference this time,” said Smith, who ran unsuccessfully as an independent against Martin in 2003. “These are people who are very vocal and had contact with the district attorney’s office.”

Another difference may have been Smith claiming the Democratic Party label upon qualifying to run again. In addition to getting 65 percent of the vote in Warren County, Smith outpaced Martin by majorities of more than two-thirds in reliably Democratic Sharkey and Issaquena counties.

Aggressive door-to-door campaigns may have also helped local candidates bend a few precincts more in their direction, despite historical voting trends.

District 54 Representative-elect Alex Monsour did predictably well in the Culkin precinct, composed of upper-income subdivisions in northeast Warren County such as Openwood Plantation and Lake Forest which typically vote for Republicans.

But, the newly minted legislator was able to win 235 votes in subdistricts of Kings and Tingleville, besting his opponents there. He also won majorities in Issaquena and Sharkey precincts in the district.