Faver holds lead in chancery judge runoff

Rodney Faver campaigned at the Starkville Sportsplex on Tuesday (Photo by Ryan Phillips, SDN)

Ryan Phillips
SDN Editor

After a tight General Election where second and third place were decided by a dozen votes, the runoff for Chancery Court Judge District 14, Place 1 came down to less than 150 on Wednesday as the three counties began to report the remaining affidavit ballots. 

Attorney and Starkville Municipal Court Judge Rodney Faver will likely be certified as the winner of the race by roughly 139 votes over attorney and Oktibbeha County Youth Court Referee Lee Ann Turner. 

The difference maker near the end of the final tallying on Wednesday came in Oktibbeha County, which had 254 affidavit ballots to process following election night on Tuesday

Faver’s lead grew slightly from 123 votes, which closed Tuesday evening before affidavits were processed. 

In total, Faver carried 55 percent of Oktibbeha County with 4,483 votes, while Turner pulled in 3,568. 

Click here to see updated election results

Faver, 56, has served as municipal court judge in Starkville for the past nine years and has been a practicing attorney for three decades. According to Faver, 21 of those years were spent working on chancery court matters.

Faver did not respond to multiple requests for comment by press time on Wednesday. 

Despite a substantial showing in Chickasaw County, where she grabbed 3,354 votes (57 percent), Turner came up just short in Webster County, where Faver had 1,903 votes (52 percent) and 4,524 votes (55 percent) in Oktibbeha County. 

Turner thank her supporters and expressed her gratitude for all of the encouragement she has received, saying it’s been “very draining after two very, very close elections.” 

It is unclear at this time if she will request a recount.

Oktibbeha County Circuit Court Clerk Tony Rook said the results will be certified in Oktibbeha County by no later than next Tuesday at 5 p.m. 

The official winner of the race will be sworn in to office in January and take the seat of retiring Place 1 Chancery Judge Kenneth Burns. 

Chancery Judge-elect Paula Drungole-Ellis won outright over Starkville alderman and Vice Mayor Roy A’. Perkins in the Chancery Judge District 14, Place 3 race on Nov. 6, while Columbus attorney Joe Studdard won in a runoff Tuesday for Place 2 against fellow Columbus attorney Carrie Jourdan. 

Elizabeth Ausbern, who finished third in Nov. 6 election in District 14, Place 1, cited what she said were problems with absentee ballots and evidence of voting machine malfunctions in at least three precincts. 

However, Ausbern confirmed to the Starkville Daily News on Wednesday that she decided not to file an election contest. 

“With all the problems, I still strongly believe in the election process,” she said. “All three of the circuit clerks were helpful and managed the election as well as could be expected. However. I definitely feel the poll workers need more training, especially with the proper handling of absentee/affidavit ballots.” 


Turnout was exceedingly high for a runoff in Oktibbeha County, which was boosted by a highly-contentious special election for U.S. Senate. 

At the 16 precincts that voted in the chancery judge race, 8,155 total votes were counted of 17,525 registered voters cast ballots for a 48 percent turnout, while countywide saw turnout just top 50 percent. The latest totals show 37 write-in votes were cast in the chancery judge race in Oktibbeha County. 

In Oktibbeha County’s 20 precincts, all of which featured the special election for U.S. Senate between Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith and Democratic challenger Mike Espy, 13,767 votes were counted of the county’s 27,474 registered voters, with turnout coming in at 50.2 percent with two “no ID” affidavit ballots left to be processed in Oktibbeha County. 

Oktibbeha County election officials ultimately accepted 118 affidavit ballots, while rejecting 136. 

For Chickasaw and Webster counties, there remains a comparable number of affidavit ballots left to be processed, with four and three “no ID” affidavits, respectively.