Tiny turnout expected for Tuesday runoff vote

Published 5:00 am Monday, June 26, 2006

A Democratic primary runoff election Tuesday for U.S. Senate isdrawing little attention from voters, circuit clerks said.

The election pits Democrats Bill Bowlin, of Hickory Flat,against Erik Fleming, of Clinton, for the right to challengeincumbent Sen. Trent Lott, R-Pascagoula. Libertarian Harold M.Taylor, of Nesbit, is also on the ballot for the Nov. 7 generalelection.

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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Circuit Clerks Terry Lynn Watkins, of Lincoln County, and CindyStokes, of Lawrence County, said interest in the race is virtuallynonexistent. Neither clerk received any absentee votes in the weeksleading to Tuesday’s runoff.

“We’re expecting an even worse turnout than what we saw in theprimary,” Stokes said.

Statewide, only 2 percent of registered voters went to the pollsJune 6, a percentage mirrored in Lincoln County, Watkins said.

Lawrence County posted a slightly higher voter turnout at 6percent, Stokes said.

Locally, Fleming defeated Bowlin in Copiah County by a largemargin, 1,365 votes to 735 in the primary. The voting was muchcloser in Lincoln and Lawrence counties, however, where Flemingedged Bowlin by only 27 votes in Lincoln County and 31 votes inLawrence County.

In a campaign stop in Brookhaven last week, Bowlin said it wasimportant to draw some interest into the campaign.

“Our strategy is to just get out more voters,” he said. “I didvery well here so getting out the vote is so critical.”

A larger turnout, however, is unlikely, Stokes said.

“Traditionally, there is never the turnout for a runoff thatthere was in the general election,” she said.