All votes in, Sojourner wins

Published 12:02 am Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Rod Guajardo/The Natchez Democrat — Melanie Sojourner celebrates with her father Jack Sojourner at The Grand Soleil on Election night last week. Sojourner was leading in vote counts that night, but didn’t declare victory until all absentees were counted Monday.

NATCHEZ — After 20,003 votes, six days of waiting and countless handshakes and hugs, Republican Melanie Sojourner has won the race for Senate District 37 by 451 votes.

Pike County finished counting absentee ballots on Monday afternoon and results showed 2,760 votes for Sojourner and 1,689 for opponent Democrat Bob M. Dearing in that county.

Those numbers brought final election results to 10,227 votes for Sojourner and 9,776 for Dearing.

Sojourner said she is ready to put the election behind her and move forward.

“I’m very much looking forward to making Southwest Mississippi the topic of every discussion at the table,” Sojourner said. “We’re just ready to roll our sleeves up and get to work.”

With the race being so close, Sojourner said she won’t forget the voters who helped her win the election.

“I’m grateful for what the voters entrusted in me,” Sojourner said. “I know this is a two-way street, and I want to make sure that their voice is heard.”

Dearing will officially leave office Jan. 2 for the first time in 32 years.

“It has been my privilege and honor to represent all of you in Senate District 37 in the Mississippi State Senate these past 32 years and to you in Wilkinson County where I represented you for 12 years,” Dearing said in a statement e-mailed to The Democrat. “I officially leave office… knowing full well that I did my very best to always represent you in the manner you expected and, most importantly, deserved.”

Other vote tallies by county were:

• In Adams County, Sojourner received 3,499 votes and Dearing received 5,421 votes.

• In Franklin County, Sojourner received 1,774 votes and Dearing received 1,440 votes.

• In Amite County, Sojourner received 2,194 votes and Dearing received 1,226 votes.