Lincoln Democrat and Republican Primary Results

Published 5:00 am Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Lincoln County’s voters mirrored the rest of Mississippi inTuesday’s primary elections, except in 3rd Congressional DistrictRepublican balloting where David Landrum captured 37.73 percent ofthe county vote with 898 ballots to finish ahead of district-widefront-runner Charlie Ross.

Landrum’s carrying Lincoln County was not enough to push himinto the upcoming 3rd Congressional District runoff on April 1,where Ross and Gregg Harper will meet for the party’s nomination.The runoff winner will face Joel Gill, who won the Democraticnomination Tuesday, in the November general election.

Ross, a former state senator, carried 32.39 percent of LincolnCounty’s Republicans with 771 votes. Harper managed 462 votes, or19.41 percent, in the county.

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In the district as a whole, Ross finished in first place with21,999 votes to Harper’s 18,657.

On the Democratic side, Gill took 60.06 percent of the county’svoters with 2,608 ballots, defeating Randall Eads, who brought in1,727 votes, or 39.77 percent of the county. Gill enjoyed similarsuccess throughout the district, capturing 53 percent of the 3rdCongressional District with 42,925 votes.

While central and south Mississippi paid close attention to the3rd Congressional District race, national eyes were cast on thestate to see the battle between Democratic presidential contendersSen. Barack Obama and Sen. Hillary Clinton.

Obama captured Lincoln County by 973 votes over Clinton,claiming 58.49 percent of the county’s Democrats over Clinton’s38.56 percent. Obama gathered 2,856 county votes to Clinton’s1,883.

Statewide, Obama drew 61 percent of Mississippi Democrats to hisside with 253,441 votes. Clinton’s state numbers mirrored hercounty numbers, as she drew 37 percent of the state with 154,852votes.

The result of the presidential primary on the state and LincolnCounty levels came as no shock to Democratic officials.

“It went about how I thought it would,” said Lincoln CountyDemocratic Party Executive Committee Chairwoman Helen Funk.”Listening to all the people talk, it was no surprise. Everyone hadpredicted that the election would turn out the way it did.”

In the race for the U.S. Senate, Democratic candidate ErikFleming won 2,757 Lincoln County voters, or 62.99 percent. Hisopponent, Shawn O’Hara, gathered in 1,612 voters, or 36.83 percent.The numbers were close on the state level, with Fleming earning thenod with 225,083 votes over O’Hara’s 118,125.

Fleming will go on to face incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran in theNovember general election.

The last of the county’s votes were tallied at approximately9:30 p.m. Tuesday.

With 100 percent of all precincts and absentee and affidavitballots counted, officials from the county and both partiesreflected on the election’s turnout, which was mostlydisappointing. Only 7,340 of Lincoln County’s more than 25,000registered voters made the trip to the polls – less than 30percent.

“Voter turnout was low,” Funk said as she gave a ‘thumbs down.'”We only had 7,000 out of almost 26,000 voters show up. It’sdisappointing when no one comes out.”

Lincoln County Circuit Clerk Terry Lynn Watkins was also lessthan thrilled at the county’s showing at the polls.

“I don’t know what it’s gonna take to make people get out andvote,” she said. “Every person should feel obligated to get out andchoose our country’s next president.”

Lincoln County Republican Party Chairman Chuck Nelms was moreoptimistic about the day’s events, even though Democratic votersoutnumbered Republican voters by almost two to one. He said hisparty’s lower showing at the polls was likely due to an uneventfulRepublican presidential race.

“You can tell with all the hoopla about McCain being the nomineealready, there wasn’t a lot of motivation to go to the polls,”Nelms said. “But the presidential race between Obama and Clintongenerates a lot of passion.”

Nelms said Lincoln County has a history of Democrats bringing ina larger vote in the primary election.

“But that does not reflect on the general election,” Nelms said.”Lincoln County has been carried by every congressional Republicancandidate since I can remember.”

Despite the low turnout, the county election ran smoothly thisyear, even finishing up early when compared to previous elections.The vote counting was over before 10 p.m., while officials toldhorror stories from the past of counting votes well into themorning hours.

“Everything went really smooth,” Watkins said. “We had very fewproblems at the precincts today – just a few paper jams, nothingmajor.”

The county’s next political action will occur on April 1 withthe Republican runoff for the 3rd Congressional District.

The only voters who will be allowed to take part in the runoffelection are those that voted Republican in Tuesday’s primary andthose that did not vote at all. Democratic voters will not beallowed to cross over and participate in the runoff.