County voters back conservatives

Published 6:00 am Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Election Day saw Lincoln County’s voters turn against nationalsentiment and side with the Republican Party by an approximately2-1 ratio straight down the ballot.

The margins for statewide totals weren’t quite as one-sided asthose in the county, but Republicans carried the Magnolia State aswell.

Despite a runaway win consisting of 338 electoral votes byDemocratic president-elect Barack Obama, Republican runner up JohnMcCain carried 65 percent of Lincoln County with 10,781 votes toObama’s 5,505, which equaled almost 34 percent of the localvote.

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With 1,881 of the state’s 1,887 precincts reporting earlyWednesday morning, McCain carried Mississippi with 678,668 votes toObama’s 513,070, reflecting 56 percent and 43 percent,respectively.

The five remaining minor party presidential candidates combinedcarried less than 1 percent of the county and state.

Republicans also triumphed over Democrats in both Senate racesand the 3rd Congressional District by similar margins, according tounofficial Lincoln County election results.

Incumbent Senator Roger Wicker, who was appointed by Gov. HaleyBarbour to fill the unexpired term of retired Senator Trent Lott,didn’t quite make a 2-1 ratio in the special election between himand former Gov. Ronnie Musgrove, but still carried 60 percent ofthe county with 9,768 votes to Musgrove’s 6,345. Wicker’s totalsrepresented 60 percent of the county, while Musgrove earned thevotes of 39 percent.

Wicker defeated Musgrove on the state level by a vote of640,517-516,859.

Incumbent Republican Senator Thad Cochran defeated hisDemocratic challenger, Erik Fleming, by more than 2-1. Cochrancarried 68 percent of the county with 10,994 votes, while theremaining 32 percent – 5,129 votes – were cast in favor ofFleming.

Cochran carried the state by a vote of 713,360-442,630.

Third Congressional District Republican candidate Gregg Harpergathered in 10,365 votes to Democratic contender Joel Gill’s 5,720,taking the office in Lincoln County with 64 percent of the vote toGill’s 35 percent.

Harper also won the district by a vote of 197,970-116,706.

The ballot’s only nonpartisan race – a contest for MississippiSupreme Court District 2 – saw judge Randy “Bubba” Pierce defeatincumbent Oliver Diaz by a vote of 9,045-6,287. Pierce carriedalmost 59 percent of the county to Diaz’s approximately 41percent.

Pierce also won the district to become one of three new judgeson the state bench.

On the local level, it wasn’t necessarily the election resultsthat were so impressive – it was the turnout of 16,417 countyvoters, which Lincoln County Circuit Clerk Terry Lynn Watkins saidwas the largest ever.

Watkins said the number is more than twice the amount of voterswho turned out for the primary elections in March, and sheattributed the success to the magnitude of the presidentialrace.

“Not to discount our state races, but the presidential race wasdefinitely the reason for the turnout,” she said.

Tuesday’s big turnout was evident a month ago, when the passingof the Oct. 1 voter registration passed with approximately 1,200new registrations in the county.

The 16,417 voters who participated in the election represented63 percent of the county’s 26,076 registered voters.

“This is the biggest turnout we’ve seen in a long while,”Watkins said. “Overall, this election gets an ‘A.'”

District 92 Rep. Becky Currie, who was present while the voteswere counted most of the night, measured the Republican victory inthe county and state against the Democratic victory in the WhiteHouse.

“Republicans have been in power for a long time and the peoplewanted change – that’s what these elections showed us,” she said.”I hope we can all come together – if we don’t all work together inthese tough times, we’re in or tougher times. [Obama] is ourpresident – all of our president.”

Currie pointed out that Mississippi Republicans will still havea voice in the House and Senate.

“I think Mississippi voted in the right candidates in Wicker andHarper,” she said. “They’re both grounded, Christian men whomWashington will not change, and I’m proud we sent them upthere.”