Walker, Minor close in clerk’s race

Published 1:00 am Wednesday, August 3, 2011

ERIC SHELTON/THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — Candidate for the Adams County Circuit Clerk Eddie Walker talks to his intern, Abby Wickham, inside of the Adams County Courthouse Tuesday night.

NATCHEZ — Determining the winner of the race for Adams County Circuit Clerk Tuesday night depended entirely on who you asked.

The numbers — unofficial and excluding approximately 700 absentee votes — show there will be a runoff in the race between incumbent clerk Eddie Walker and challenger Jennifer “Lady J” Minor.

Walker concurs, but Minor has a different belief.

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Minor said she felt confident that the absentee ballots would result in an outright win for her, not a runoff.

“I’m ecstatic,” she said. “I’m really at a loss for words. I’m at home now with my closest family and closest friends. We are celebrating with catfish, string beans and corn on the cob.”

Minor said she would spend time at the courthouse today watching the final ballots be counted, and that she’d be ready — to either campaign further or take office — no matter what the outcome was.

Walker, too, will be at the courthouse today, watching absentees, but also carrying on with his work as clerk, he said.

ERIC SHELTON/THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — Ashley Minor, left, gives her mother, Jennifer “Lady J” Minor, a high-five inside their home Tuesday night. Minor and incumbent Eddie Walker are in a runoff for Adams County Circuit Clerk, according to unofficial election results.

“We’re certainly disappointed that we didn’t win in the first round, but we’re happy about the number of votes we did receive,” Walker said. “We’ll be working hard in the next three weeks to make up for the number of votes we lost.”

Walker said he expects the absentee ballots will reflect the votes at the polls, with some going to Minor, some to opponent Britt Gibson and some to him. He did not think absentees alone would give Minor a majority of the vote.

“I want to thank all of those who voted for me, and I certainly want to solicit their votes again. We’ll continue to work hard over the next three weeks and we’ll be getting out to see as many (Adams County citizens) as we can.”

Walker received 3,416 votes or 47.25 percent of the vote. Minor received 2,788 votes or 38.57 percent. Gibson received 1,017 votes or 14.07 percent.

In the race for chancery clerk, long-time incumbent Tommy O’Beirne had a clear lead based on the unofficial numbers and excluding absentees.

“I’m overwhelmed by the support,” O’Beirne said late Tuesday night.

O’Beirne led challenger Willie B. Jones by 1,347 votes Tuesday night. O’Beirne received 4,248 votes or 59.35 percent, while Jones had 2,901 votes or 40.53 percent of the votes.

“I look forward to continuing to work with the board of supervisors to improve the economic condition of our county.”

OBeirne was first elected to the seat 24 years ago and, due to many unopposed races, didn’t have to campaign in previous years like he did this year.

“It has been a long time,” O’Beirne said. “But I enjoyed every minute of it. I campaigned pretty hard (this year) and had a lot of supporters working with me.”

O’Beirne also said he wanted to commend Jones for a fair race.

In the race for coroner, incumbent James Lee had 70.15 percent of the vote Tuesday.

Lee had 5,103 votes, while challenger Bill Hinson had 29.76 percent, 2,165 votes.

The win was bittersweet for Lee, whose mother died Tuesday afternoon.

“I do thank God and thank my family and thank all the voters of Adams County for re-electing me,” he said. “I am excited, but the death of my adopted mother today makes this a day I will never forget.”

Lee thanked his opponent for a clean race, and thanked deputy coroner Rosa Newman for stepping in on the campaign trail Tuesday while Lee was grieving.

In the race for justice court judge southern district, incumbent Charlie Vess defeated challenger Gary Mullins with 2,250 votes or 64.90 percent of the vote.

Mullins earned 1,210 votes 34.90 percent of the vote.

Ray Brown easily won re-election as constable, northern district 1.

Brown received 3,034 votes or 81.8 percent.

Murray Warnock received 378 votes or 10.19 percent of the vote.

Daryl Walker received 169 votes or 4.56 percent.

Kendrick “Kimbo” Lewis — who withdrew from the race after the ballots had been printed — received 127 votes and 3.42 percent.

Party officials will be counting absentee ballots at the courthouse today and should certify election results later this week.