Johnson wins House race, clerks to runoff

Published 12:01 am Thursday, August 4, 2011

ERIC SHELTON/THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — Tech Advisor Johnny Collins works to retrieve results from the last voting machine inside of the Adams County Courthouse Tuesday night.

NATCHEZ — Unless absentee votes come out unusually lopsided, the race for Mississippi House 94 has a winner, and the race for Adams County circuit clerk will go into a runoff.

House 94

Robert L. Johnson III leads the unofficial vote count with 2,485 votes or 53 percent of the vote with all 20 precincts from District 94 reporting. Challenger and Natchez Alderman James “Rickey” Gray had 2,181 votes or 47 percent of the vote.

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“I feel satisfied that I’ve won the election,” Johnson said.

Johnson said the campaign trail allowed him to get back in touch with people in his district and make them understand what he has done for the district.

“I’m just glad to…commit myself to making even more of an effort to communicate (actions in the state legislature to his district),” Johnson said.

“I value public service, and I love the opportunity to do that. I feel like I’m getting quite a bit accomplished.”

Johnson said he has worked together with the community leaders of Adams and Jefferson counties to accomplish goals in the legislature for District 94.

“It is a team job, and I’m just a part of that team,” Johnson said.

Gray would not comment on the race.

Circuit Clerk

Unless absentee ballots fall overwhelmingly in support of Circuit Clerk Incumbent Eddie Walker, he and Jennifer “Lady J” Minor should be in a runoff Aug. 23.

Walker received 3,416 votes Tuesday or 47.25 percent of the vote. Minor received 2,788 votes or 38.57 percent. The third opponent in the race, Britt Gibson, received 1,017 votes or 14.07 percent.

Walker could win the election outright if 545 absentee ballots cast were for him.

Both Walker and Election Commission Chairman Larry Gardner said the race will likely result in a runoff.

“Typically, the absentee ballots and affidavit ballots go the (same) way the other votes go,” Gardner said. “I could be wrong, but historically, when you look at it, that’s just the way it goes.”

The votes Walker did receive made him feel grateful, he said, but he reminded citizens to cast their vote again Aug. 23.

“Please get out and vote,” Walker said.

Minor, who said Tuesday night she thought the absentee ballots might result in an outright win for her, could not be reached for comment.

Numbers show if Minor earns all 700 absentee votes, the race will still result in a runoff.

Absentee voting

Gardner said Wednesday he expected absentee votes to be counted either late today or by Friday.

“It depends on if they run into any issue,” Gardner said of when the absentees will be counted.

He expected absentee counting to make more progress today.

“(Wednesday) was about getting organized,” Gardner said.

Unlike past years, absentee results will not be available until all 700 are verified legitimate and entered into the computer system.

In past years, commission members reported results precinct by precinct.

A precinct-by-precinct breakdown will be available once all absentees are entered in the system.