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By STEVEN NALLEY
and CARL SMITH
Unofficial election results show incumbent District 3 Supervisor Marvell Howard re-claimed his seat Wednesday after county officials spent the day counting absentee and affidavit ballots.
An unofficial election report given mid-Wednesday reported Howardâ€™s challenger, Republican Dennis Daniels, had a one-vote lead following the addition of absentee ballots. A second unofficial report sent from the Oktibbeha County Circuit Clerkâ€™s Office at 7 p.m. showed Howard jumped ahead of Daniels by four votes with the inclusion of affidavits.
Both Howard and Daniels independently said affidavits pushed Howard to victory earlier in the day. At the time, Howard said he thought he finished 11 votes ahead of Daniels, while Daniels said he was told he lost by four votes.
The latest unofficial results also show incumbent District 1 Supervisor Carl Clardy was unseated by his Republican challenger, John P. Montgomery.
Montgomery took a 62-vote lead into Wednesday. After the first report was issued, Montgomeryâ€™s lead jumped to 80 votes. By the end of Wednesday, he led Clardy by 87 votes.
Without the affidavits, the races for both Districts 1 and 3 were small enough to potentially be reversed.
Howard said he was grateful for citizensâ€™ votes, and he congratulated other winners in the elections.
â€śIâ€™ve kind of become accustomed to having to come back the next morning to count votes, but it is kind of nerve-wracking to have it decided by just a few votes,â€ť Howard said.
At the legislature level, in the race for District 23 state representative, Republican Charles Beckett defeated Democrat Steve Whitten 4,684-2,912, but in Oktibbeha County, it was a close race. The county report showed Beckett leading Whitten by 52 votes.
Other results Wednesday were consistent with those shown Tuesday night. The report showed Democrat Steve Gladney winning the sheriffâ€™s office over Rudy Johnson with almost 6,000 votes. Johnson said it was a long process enduring primary, runoff and general elections, but he was humbled and grateful for support from Oktibbeha County citizens.
â€śIÂ feel fortunate the people have faith in me and feel I have the qualifications to be the new OktibbehaÂ CountyÂ sheriff,â€ť Gladney said. â€śI have great respect for Sheriff (Dolph) Bryan, and I will work hard to meet the expectations he has already set in our sheriffâ€™s department. I want a well trained department with competent deputies and a staff that provides professionalism in law enforcement.â€ť
Incumbent Democrat Orlando K. Trainer won his race for District 2 supervisor over Robert â€śBubbaâ€ť Gray, earning a fourth term. He said he is grateful to voters and he believes his experience in office will work in the countyâ€™s favor.
â€śWhat it means to me is Iâ€™m not being sent back just to continue doing the same thing, but people have some higher expectations,â€ť Trainer said. â€śWeâ€™re going to really roll up our sleeves and try to make some things come to reality. We have a great county, weâ€™ve made some major strides, but we have a lot of potential.â€ť
Myles Carpenter, Oktibbeha County Election Commissioner, said 51 percent of the population participated in the vote. The turnout was comparable to the results from the previous county and state election, he said, but he had hoped to see as much as 65 percent.
â€śWe were still unhappy with the turnout,â€ť Carpenter said. â€śFifty-one percent is better than we got in the primaries, but itâ€™s still a rotten shame more people are not interested in voting. We would love to thank those that did take the time to vote.â€ť
There were few problems at the polls, Carpenter said, and poll workers did well accommodating voters in need of special assistance. A few lines were long at the polls, he said, but this presented no problems.
â€śWe had a few machines â€” very few â€” that malfunctioned for a few minutes, but we got them back up and running really quick,â€ť Carpenter said.
SDN will publish a full precinct-by-precinct breakdown of the election Friday if the numbers are available