Many Lawrence Co. races await runoff decisions

Published 5:00 am Wednesday, August 8, 2007

The Aug. 28 runoff election may be a busy one for LawrenceCounty poll workers as many Democratic races remain undecidedfollowing Tuesday’s primary.

The battle for the Democratic nomination was especially heavy incounty races, where only one independent was on the ballot to carryraces into the Nov. 6 general election. There were no Republicancandidates in county races.

Incumbent Sheriff Joel Thames charged ahead in a four-candidatefield to gather 2,245 votes but did not distance himself far enoughfrom challenger Charles White, with 1,466 votes, to escape with theDemocratic nomination in complete but unofficial totals.

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Challenger Hoyt Dampier and White battled to meet Thames in therunoff, but Dampier fell short with 1,224 votes. Doc Bradfordgathered 628 votes.

Embattled District Three Supervisor Calvin Rutland’s 253 votesdid not give him enough to make the runoff.

Challengers John Bull and Jerry Wayne Smithie will meet Aug. 28to determine who will lead District Three for the next four years.Bull captured 461 votes to lead the field with Smithie trailingwith 318 votes. They were followed by Ronnie D. Holmes with 126votes, Eric King with 86 and Jerry L. Wallace with 15.

District One Supervisor Steve Garrett, District Four SupervisorGlenn Grubbs and District Five Supervisor Coach Archie Ross canrest a little easier after the primary. Garrett defeated formersupervisor Carey Hedgepeth by a vote of 887 to 215 while Grubbsdefeated Stanley L. Stephens 667 to 363 and Ross conquered GregorySutton 835 to 167.

District Two Supervisor Billy Joe Boutwell collected 542 votes,or 46.93 percent of the vote. The total is just short of the 50percent he needed to avoid a runoff with Jay E. Maye, who received280 votes. Boutwell and Maye outpaced Joe Evans, with 197 votes,and Willie Earl Smith, with 136 votes, to advance to therunoff.

Boutwell said he was much more relaxed today.

“You never know how things are going to go in an election. I wasvery pleased,” he said. “My record will stand for itself.”

Maye said he was not surprised there was a runoff, but expressedsome concern about the turnout.

“To be honest, I’m a little disappointed,” he said. “I lookedfor it to be a runoff, but I was disappointed in the percentage Igot. I’m just going to have to regroup and pick up more votes thenext time.”

The only Lawrence County race to advance beyond the primarieswill be for District Two supervisor. Voters in November will decidewhether to elect the winner of the runoff or independent GloriaBilliot.

James “Sandy” Brister and Patsy Bullock led a field of fivecandidates for the vacant circuit clerk’s office. Incumbent CircuitClerk Cindy Stokes did not seek re-election.

Brister collected 2,222 votes and Bullock received 1,133 votes.Trailing the pair were Monticello Ward Two Alderman Steve Moremanwith 875 votes, Angel Tullos Coin with 788 and Ramona Dickson with451 votes.

Incumbent Tax Assessor Sherry Hyde Thames’ 3,711 votes wereenough to secure her re-election over challenger Tracey F. Carney,who received 1,769 votes while incumbent Justice Court Judge PostTwo Donnie Mullins’ 2,503 votes did the same in his defeat ofchallenger Billy J. Braswell, who collected 328 votes.

Incumbent Post One Judge Albert Turnage wasn’t as fortunate,however. Kathleen S. Sharp seized 784 votes to challenge Turnage’s1,232 votes to force the runoff. Amos D. Bridges gathered 592votes, but could not keep pace.

Incumbent Post Two Constable Brad Davis will also face a runoff.Davis, who collected 1,208 votes, will meet Royce Renfroe Aug. 28.Renfroe seized 870 votes to lead the challengers. He was trailed byClaude H. Wallace, with 323 votes, Buddy Wilson, with 252 votes,and Edward May, with 174 votes.

Challenger Tony Davis outpaced incumbent Superintendent ofEducation Russell Caudill by 300 votes to force a runoff. Davisseized 2,240 votes to Caudill’s 1,937. Tammy G. Fairburn also madea strong showing by gathering 1,324 votes.

Davis admitted he was extremely nervous during his firstcandidacy.

“I was extraordinarily pleased with the way it went and thankfulfor those who voted for me,” he said. “I predicted everything fromutter defeat to glorious victory on the first night. I don’t knowexactly what I’m going to do now, but I have ideas and thedirection I take will have to be one I’m comfortable with. I’m veryproud of the effort I made this time.”

Incumbent Coroner Sidney Fortenberry was returned to office with74.81 percent of the vote, defeating Ronnie Thames and DereckPrestridge. Fortenberry gathered 4,056 votes to Thames’ 850 andPrestridge’s 514 votes.

Chancery Clerk Kevin Rayborn, County Attorney Damond Ready,County Surveyor Monty Sanders and Constable Post One Lessie J.Butler were unopposed.

In regional races, incumbent District 91 Representative JoeyHudson will meet challenger Bob Evans in the Democratic runoff.Hudson collected 1,741 votes, but fell 7 percent shy of the 50percent he needed to avoid the runoff. Evans captured 1,406 voteswhile Alvin C. Peyton II trailed with 881.

Incumbents District 53 Rep. Bobby Moak and District 39 Sen.Cindy Hyde-Smith were unopposed for the Democratic nomination. Moakwill face Constitution Party candidate Carl Mason in November whileHyde-Smith will meet Republican Edwin Case.