Voters to decide 4 runoffs Tuesday

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 21, 2011

Party officials don’t expect heat to create problems for voters in Tuesday’s primary election runoffs due to a precinct change and repaired cooling equipment.

Lows Monday night should be around 72 degrees and highs Tuesday near 97, according to the National Weather Service, with a slight chance for rain in the afternoon. Highs soared to 100 degrees for the Aug. 2 primary, with the heat index around 110.

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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Executives with both local parties expect conditions inside and outside to be better Tuesday, mainly because the Jett precinct was moved a second time, to Immanuel Baptist Church, and an air conditioning unit has been repaired at Rolling Acres Community Center on Elizabeth Circle, the polling place for the Cedar Grove precinct. Portable coolers at No. 7 Fire Station on Washington Street broke down Aug. 2, but are expected to function Tuesday, along with a fan, county officials said.

“No. 7 will have the best porta-coolers they can have,” said John Shorter, chairman of the Warren County Democratic Executive Committee.

Jett’s voters were moved to the No. 5 Fire Station, at Vicksburg Municipal Airport, for the primary from Carpenters Union Hall out of concerns the hall wouldn’t be as accessible for elections after the union restructured. Citing the heat, poll workers told county officials they wouldn’t come back for the rest of the election season if the site wasn’t moved again.

The site change should solve any issues with the weather, said Eric Biedenharn, chairman of the Warren County Republican Executive Committee.

Fifty-five absentees were cast by noon Saturday in the primary runoffs, headlined locally by Republican contests for chancery clerk and District 1 supervisor.

Turnout in Warren County for the primary was about 30 percent, up from 27 percent in 2007.

Voters in the primary runoff must choose the same party’s ballot as they did Aug. 2. Winners will advance to the general election Nov. 8.

Republicans will choose a nominee for chancery clerk between Vicksburg City Accountant Doug Whittington and Donna Farris Hardy, a retired health care industry administrator. The winner faces City Clerk Walter Osborne, a Democrat, and independents Alecia Ashley and Gene Thompson. Hardy finished 89 votes ahead of Whittington out of 5,312 votes cast in a three-way primary.

District 1 Supervisor David McDonald faces John Arnold in the runoff for the northeastern Warren County seat. McDonald was ahead of Arnold, a real estate broker, by 107 votes out of 2,006 cast in a three-man primary. The winner faces independents Jerry Briggs and Reed Birdsong.

GOP voters will also decide a nominee for state treasurer, either Lynn Fitch, the state personnel board director, or state Sen. Lee Yancey of Brandon. The winner faces Ocean Springs Mayor Connie Moran in November.

Democrats will decide a nominee for governor, either Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny DuPree or Bill Luckett, a Clarksdale businessman. DuPree received 43.5 percent of Democratic primary votes, ahead of Luckett’s 39 percent. In November, the winner faces Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant, who won a five-way primary for the Republican nod.

State Treasurer Tate Reeves won the GOP primary for lieutenant governor; no Democrat filed to run. Ditto for Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, who won the party’s primary. State Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Brookhaven, faces Democrat Joel Gill in November for commissioner of agriculture and commerce.

In legislative races Nov. 8, state Rep. George Flaggs, D-Vicksburg, faces Republican Sam Smith in Vicksburg-based District 55. State Rep. Philip Gunn, R-Clinton, who represents parts of northeast Warren County, faces Democrat Jim Culberson.

Local races in November:

• Circuit clerk, where incumbent Shelly Ashley-Palmertree, a Democrat, faces Republican David Sharp and independents Jan Hyland Daigre and Robert Terry.

• Sheriff, where incumbent Martin Pace, an independent, faces Democrat Bubba Comans.

• Tax assessor, where Democrat Angela Brown faces Republican Mike Caruthers and independents Ben Luckett and Doug Tanner.

• Tax collector, where incumbent Antonia Flaggs Jones, a Democrat, faces Republican Patty Mekus.

• District 2 supervisor, where incumbent William Banks, a Democrat, faces Republican Trey Smith and independent De Reul.

• District 3 supervisor, where incumbent Charles Selmon, a Democrat, faces independent James Stirgus Jr.

• District 4 supervisor, where incumbent Bill Lauderdale, an independent, faces Democrat Casey Fisher.

• District 5 supervisor, where incumbent Richard George, an independent, faces J.W. Carroll, Joe Wooley and Ellis Tillotson, also independents.