Close to 36 percent of voters turn out for primaries in Adams County

Published 12:13 am Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Natchez — With the Democratic nomination for president still up for grabs and an exciting congressional race on the Republican side, voters surprised election officials Tuesday with a robust turnout.

“We had expected somewhere around 5 percent of the voters to show up,” Election Commissioner Larry Gardner said Tuesday night.

Instead, close to 36 percent of Adams County registered voters cast votes in a race that had no local contests.

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“The close race for the Democratic presidential nomination and a good congressional race on the Republican side made for a good turnout,” Gardner said. “And the weather held off. If we had the storms that were predicted, that would have dampened it.”

Everett Sanders, city attorney and superdelegate, said this is because of the excitement this election has brought.

“I think that’s an absolute reflection of interest that has been generated around the country,” he said.

Beverly Merrill, member of the Adams County Democratic Executive Committee, said she believes it was a slow day and would like to see more turnout.

“I’d like to see 50-plus percent,” Merrill said. “I can only hope that more show up in November.”

She said she was content with Obama’s lead and that she will support either Democratic candidate.

She said she couldn’t decide who to vote on in the primary since both choices would be making history.

“I did literally kind of close my eyes and poke at the screen,” she said.

Merrill said no matter what the election is, there should always be a good voter turnout.

“Every race you have is important because it’s up to the voter to decide who’s going to be spending your money, making decisions for you,” Merrill said.

In the Democratic race for president, Barack Obama took 74.04 percent of the votes in Adams County. His challenger, Hillary Clinton took 24.15 percent of the votes cast.

Sanders said after the Mississippi primary it would take something extraordinary to keep him from voting for Sen. Barack Obama.

And it will come down to the superdelegates, he said.

“I believe that ultimately the superdelegates will determine the nominee,” Sanders said.

He said in the current situation, neither Obama nor Sen. Hillary Clinton will get enough delegates to get them the nomination before the Democratic National Convention.

But for right now, he said Obama does have a decent lead.

“I think he has a commanding lead,” he said. “He’s leading the number of pledged delegates, the number of primaries won and in the overall vote, so he’s leading in all three categories that you could measure.”

He said he believes that Mississippi’s primary was important but so are all the remaining primaries.

“I think that every primary or caucus that’s left is important because of how tight the race is,” Sanders said.

On the Republican side, John McCain took 77.18 percent of the votes in Adams County for the nomination for president. Challengers Mike Hucakabee and Ron Paul came in second and third in the county with 10.29 percent and 8.33 percent of the vote.

In the race for the 3rd Congressional District vacated by Chip Pickering, Charlie Ross took 43.98 percent of the votes over Thomas Landrum’s 36.11 percent in the Republican Primary. On the Democratic side of the race, Erik Fleming won 43.98 percent of the vote over Shawn O’Hara, who took 32.18 percent of the votes.

The Democratic race for the U.S. Senate was a close race in Adams County between Joel Gill and Randall Eads. Gill beat Eads in the county with 55.79 percent of the vote.

U.S. Senator Thad Cochran ran unopposed on the Republican ticket.