Changes made in local races
By Othor Cain
Voters across the metro Tuesday, Nov. 6, were determined to make their voices heard adding to the fuel of what Secretary of State, Delbert Hosemann billed as a “record voter turnout.’
Faced with options on The Mississippi Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, and the Board of Election Commissioners, some voters sounded the alarm for change, while others voted to keep the status quo.
In a tight race, Mississippi Chief Justice Bill Waller Jr. defeated challenger Earle Banks to retain his seat (District 1 Position 1) on the state’s highest court for another eight-year term.
Waller received 194,866 votes or 55 percent while Banks, a longtime state legislator, Jackson businessman and attorney received 157,803 votes or 45 percent.
There are nine members on the Supreme Court and when it convenes in January, it will have one new member. Oxford lawyer Josiah Dennis Coleman was declared the winner in his race against veteran Batesville attorney Richard “Flip” Phillips. Coleman received 206,644 votes or 58 percent while Phillips received 146,860 votes or 42 percent. Coleman, 39, will become the youngest member of the state’s highest court when he takes office in January.
On the Court of Appeals, Vicksburg attorney Ceola James handily defeated Judge E.J. Russell, who was appointed to the court last year by then Gov. Haley Barbour to fill a vacancy. James received 96,746 votes or 63 percent, while Russell received 56,512 votes or 37 percent.
In Hinds County, voters made two changes with the makeup of its election commissioners.
Longtime District 1 Republican Marilyn Avery was defeated by her Democratic challenger and political newcomer James Reed. Reed, a retired engineer with Illinois Central Railroad, received 10,610 votes or 55 percent while Avery received 6,416 votes or 33 percent. Primus Wheeler, a Democrat was also in this race and received 2,159 votes or 11 percent.
In District 2, the lone candidate on the ballot was Democrat Josephine Anderson, who returns to the seat she previously held and lost to incumbent Bobbie Graves. Graves failed to complete the qualifying process in a timely manner and filed her paperwork in the wrong office.
District 3 Commissioner and current chairman Jermal Clark, a Democrat, was defeated by Democrat and political newcomer Santore D. Bracey. Bracey received 10,353 votes or 64 percent, while Clark received 5,795 votes or 36 percent.
In District 4, longtime commissioner and Republican Connie Cochran had no opposition.
In District 5 longtime Democrat Lelia Gaston-Rhodes defeated her Democratic challenger Kathy Sykes. Gaston-Rhodes received 8,340 votes or 54 percent, while Sykes received 6,998 votes or 46 percent.
Election commissioners are part-time employees and are paid $84 per day, provided nthey work a minimum five hours that day.