One incumbent member of the Oktibbeha County School District Board of Trustees has apparently been defeated in Tuesday’s general election.
Challenger Melvin C. Harris was leading incumbent Yvette Rice in the race for the at-large seat on the school board by a vote of 1,813 to 1,265, according to final but unofficial results released Tuesday night.
Those totals do not include any of the 377 affidavit ballots cast in Tuesday’s election, as well as 123 absentee ballots that had to be counted by hand and were not included in totals released Tuesday night.
But even if Rice picks up any of the affidavit and absentee ballots during the certification process today, it won’t be enough to overcome the more than 540-vote lead Harris had on her Tuesday night since the majority were cast in precincts not affected by the school board race.
Harris, who was at the Courthouse Annex awaiting the election results Tuesday night, said he was excited about serving on the county school board.
“It gives me an opportunity to help reach some folks,” Harris said.
In the other county school board race on Tuesday’s ballot — that for the District 2 seat — incumbent Curtis Snell appeared to have won re-election over challenger Marvin Williams by a vote of 688 to 401.
The other big races on Tuesday’s ballot were those for 16th District Circuit Court judge and 14th District Chancery Court judge, as well as the Third Congressional District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.
In the Circuit Court judge’s race for Place 1, incumbent Jim Kitchens of Columbus appeared headed for re-election over challenger William Starks. According to unofficial results, Kitchens had 18,843 votes to 14,200 for Starks with 64 of 67 voting precincts reporting.
In the Circuit Court judge’s race for Place 3 – a new position – West Point attorneys Lee Coleman and Nebra Porter appeared headed for a runoff Nov. 23.
Coleman notched 13,189 votes to win 40 percent of the total to Porter’s 10,197 votes, or 31 percent. The third candidate in the race, Bob Marshall, trailed with 9,711 votes.
Incumbent Circuit Court Judge Lee Howard was unopposed for the Place 2 position.
In the Chancery judge races, Kenneth M. Burns and Dorothy Colom were unopposed for the Place 1 and Place 3 positions.
In U.S. House races, Republican incumbent Gregg Harper of Pearl defeated Democratic challenger Joel Gill of Pickens and Reform Party challenger Tracella Lou O’Hara Hill of Hattiesburg to win a second term.
Two sitting Mississippi Democratic congressmen also saw upsets from GOP challengers.
First-term Democratic U.S. Rep. Travis Childers of Booneville was defeated by Republican State Sen. Alan Nunnelee of Tupelo in the First Congressional District, while incumbent Democratic U.S. Rep. Gene Taylor of Bay St. Louis was defeated by GOP challenger Steven Palazzo of Bilozie in the Fourth Congressional District.
In the Second Congressional District, icumbent Democratic U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson of Bolton defeated Republican Bill Marcy of Vicksburg and Reform Party candidate Ashley Norwood of Canton.
Nationwide, Republicans made major gains in Congress, winning enough seats to win a majority in the House of Representatives, but came up short of winning a majority in the Senate.
Voter turnout solid locally
Circuit Clerk Angie McGinnis’ election turnout prediction of 45 to 48 percent was proven true Tuesday.
Not counting the 377 affidavit ballots cast countywide, 11,083 of the 24,792 active registered voters in Oktibbeha County went to the polls Tuesday for a 45 percent turnout.
Depending on how many affidavit ballots are counted today during certification of the results by the Oktibbeha County Election Commission, that turnout level will increase.
Only 532 of the 655 absentee ballots cast were counted Tuesday since the remaining 123 were photocopied ballots and had to be counted by hand. The photocopied ballots were made for precincts where election officials ran out of absentee ballots, said McGinnis late Tuesday night.
Election commissioners reported few technical problems with Tuesday’s voting. They had to contend with a few minor glitches with some of the touch-screen voting machines, but all were corrected quickly, officials said.
The North Longview and South Longview precinct polling place at the Central Oktibbeha Volunteer Fire Department station on Highway 12 West was 10 minutes late in opening Tuesday after poll workers reported a smell of gas fumes when they entered the building, McGinnis said.
Volunteer fire department officials had refueled the fire engines Monday night, creating the fumes. The precinct opened after firefighters opened the large garage doors and aired out the building, McGinnis said.
The only other election problems reported Tuesday were several people who had to vote by affidavit ballot because they had changed their address information on their voter registration record or who had classified as inactive voters because they had not responded to jury summons and the confirmation cards sent for the jury summons and voter registration, McGinnis said.
The steady rainfall did not appear to deter voters from coming to the polls, officials said.
How Oktibbeha County voted
The following are final but unofficial results of Tuesda’s general election in Oktibbeha County. All results are unofficial until certified by the Oktibbeha County Election Commission today. Totals below do not include 377 affidavit ballots and 123 photocopied ballots to be counted by hand.
Chancery Court Judge
14th Chancery District
• Kenneth M. Burns 5,004
• Dorothy W. Colom 3,049
Circuit Court Judge
16th Circuit District
• James T. “Jim” Kitchens 5,204
• William Starks 4,661
• Lee J. Howard 8,571
• Lee S. Coleman 3,759
• Bob Marshall 3,121
• Nebra Porter 2,678
Oktibbeha County School District
Board of Trustees
District 2 Seat
• Curtis Snell 688
• Marvin L. Williams 401
• Melvin Harris 1,813
• Yvette Rice 1,265
U.S. House of Representatives
Third Congressional District
• Joel L. Gill, Democrat 4,404
• Gregg Harper, Republican 5,829
• Tracella L.O. Hill, Reform 79