Natchez GOP leader may be called as observer

Published 12:00 am Sunday, November 14, 2004

NATCHEZ &045;&045; Republican John R. Junkin II has high hopes the presidential election today will end with a clear winner.

If not, however, he soon could be on his way to a state with ballot challenges reminiscent of the 2000 post-election legal battle in Florida.

As an official election observer, Junkin, a Natchez attorney and a member of the Mississippi GOP executive committee, would be called to sit in on recounts and certifications of ballots in question.

Email newsletter signup

&uot;I’m not as concerned as a lot of people are that this is going to happen,&uot; Junkin said, explaining that everything must fall into place exactly right for an election challenge to go forward.

If he is called, it will be his first time to serve as an observer, Junkin said. And the call could come days from now, as some states have delayed recounts if the numbers are within a certain margin.

&uot;Mike Retzer, our national committee man from Mississippi and the national treasurer, called and asked me to be on the provisional list. If they have people lined up (to serve as observers) ahead of time, then they don’t have to scramble to find someone,&uot; he said.

Junkin grew up in a political family and in 2000 was one of the official electors who cast the state’s

votes for Bush. &uot;I’ve been involved in elections since the fifth or sixth grade,&uot; he said.

Controversies such as in Florida four years ago are not good for the health of the election system, he said. An optimist, he predicted that President Bush will be re-elected by a small but clear margin today.

&uot;I think it’s going to be two to three points and the president will win,&uot; he said. &uot;It depends on where those two or three points fall down. If the president can carry both Florida and Ohio, that will be sufficient to do it.&uot;