Marcy takes Warren County vote

Published 12:07 pm Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Bill Marcy ran away with the Republican primary vote in Warren County Tuesday but appeared headed to a runoff June 22 based on incomplete totals for the 2nd Congressional District’s 23 counties.

Locally, Marcy, 64, captured 66 percent of the vote and carried 17 of the county’s 22 precincts. Richard Cook, 51, mustered 19 percent and George Bailey, 65, received 13.8 percent.

Elsewhere, with 364 of the district’s 469 precincts reporting, Marcy led the three-man field with 37 percent of the vote, followed by Cook’s 34 percent and Bailey’s 29 percent.

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The eventual nominee will face U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., in the Nov. 2 general election. Thompson had no primary opponent.

Elsewhere, state Sen. Alan Nunnelee, R-Tupelo, emerged from a hotly contested three-person race in north Mississippi’s District 1. He will face U.S. Rep. Travis Childers, D-Miss., and seven third-party or independent candidates. With all but one county reporting, Nunnelee had 52 percent of the vote to former Eupora mayor Henry Ross’ 33 percent and Fox News analyst Angela McGlowan’s 15 percent.

In south Mississippi’s 4th District, state Rep. Steven Palazzo, R-Biloxi, won 57 percent of the GOP primary versus Petal businessman Joe Tegerdine and will face U.S. Rep. Gene Taylor, Libertarian candidate Kenneth Hampton and Reform Party candidate Anna Jewel Revies. Taylor and Childers are among several moderate, Blue Dog Democrats targeted by Republicans in conservative districts this year.

In the 3rd District, covering a swath of counties in the middle of the state from Natchez to Meridian including the Jackson suburbs, Pickens mayor Joel Gill won the Democratic primary and will face U.S. Rep. Gregg Harper, R-Miss., and Reform Party candidate Tracella Lou O’Hara Hill. Gill captured 53 percent of the vote to sociology professor James D. Jackson’s 29 percent and perennial candidate Shawn O’Hara’s 18 percent.

Hinds, the most populous of the counties in the district, wasn’t expected to resume counting votes until this morning because of problems transferring information from voting machines. Election Commissioner Marilyn Avery told The Associated Press the machines did not malfunction.

Local turnout totaled about 2.7 percent of the county’s 30,306 registered voters. Turnout statewide was reported similarly sparse by most officials’ accounts.

Though the state’s voter database has been centralized and touch-screen machines have made the act of voting faster, vote counts have taken longer to complete. Vote totals must be downloaded from ballot cards that poll managers must deliver to county courthouses in secured zipper bags. Expertise in removing the cards from the machines and properly sealing the machines is tied directly to the skill level of the poll workers.

Circuit clerk’s offices count absentee and affidavit ballots, but the onsite system and all accompanying equipment is managed by personnel with Premier Election Systems, formerly Diebold Election Systems, from which the state purchased touch-screen machines in 2005. Warren opted to accept the machines that same year.

The prospect of a runoff didn’t seem to faze Marcy, a Meridian resident, who watched election results in Vicksburg at the Wingate by Wyndham hotel.

“We have a team now,” Marcy said. “We’ve got a real horse race now.”

Marcy, an avowed conservative, is a former Chicago police officer who ran twice for seats in the state Legislature. Cook, a Jackson middle school teacher, lost to Thompson in the 2008 general election. Bailey, a Texas-born ordained minister in Clinton, ran for the GOP nod for governor in New Mexico in 2006.

The district stretches from Tunica to Jefferson, mostly along the Mississippi River. Voters in the reliably Democratic district have consistently returned Thompson, who chairs the House Homeland Security Committee, to office with majorities averaging more than 60 percent.