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Bairfield, Sisco face runoff vote

Voters winnowed eight candidates down to two Tuesday, and the special election for Lincoln County circuit clerk is headed to a Nov. 27 runoff between Dustin Bairfield and Janie Sisco.

     Bairfield came in first among the field with about 27 percent of votes cast, according to nearly final but unofficial results, falling short of the more than 50 percent needed to win.

     Sisco captured about 15.5 percent of votes, pushing past third place-finisher Terry Reid’s 14 percent to grab the second runoff spot against Bairfield.

     “It’s kind of overwhelming,” Bairfield said Tuesday night, expressing gratitude to his family and supporters. “I’m just really, really thankful.”

     Sisco said she is ready to gear up her ground game throughout the county during the next three weeks leading up to Nov. 27.

     “I’ll regroup and in the morning get up and start again,” Sisco said. “We probably will not realize it’s Thanksgiving at my house.”

     A captain with the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office, Bairfield ran for the circuit clerk’s office in 2011 against incumbent Terry Lynn Watkins, who won re-election and then resigned in January.

     Sisco was most recently a District Four election commissioner until she resigned that post to seek the office Watkins vacated.

     Bairfield received 4,332 votes and Sisco 2,471 votes. Reid netted 2,285 votes. Paula Thames Smith earned 2,173 votes, 13.6 percent; Heather White Martin 1,895 votes, 11.9 percent; L. Mike Smith, 1,269 votes, 7.9 percent; Josh Davis, 1,062 votes, 6.6 percent and Mike 402 votes, 2.5 percent.

     In total, 15,902 voters cast ballots for Lincoln County circuit clerk.

     Eyeing the final showdown later this month, Bairfield said he feels good about the fact that he nearly doubled Sisco’s vote totals.

     “Having that little bit of a jump there, that’s real encouraging,” Bairfield said.

     However, Sisco pointed out that more than 70 percent of voters sided with someone other than Bairfield, and she hopes to see those voters coalesce behind her.

     “I just hope I can pull the support of the other candidates to my side,” Sisco said.

     However, she’s ready for a nail-biter if it comes to that.

     “I ran for District Four (election commissioner) last time and won by one vote, so close elections are nothing new to me,” Sisco said.

     Readying himself for the final stretch, Bairfield once again emphasized his years of law enforcement experience during which he said he’s worked “hand in hand with the clerk’s office.”

     Said Bairfield, “I’m hoping I can get the word out about my qualifications and experience.”

     Sisco has touted her experience managing county elections during her time as an election commissioner. She underlined her work to clean up the voter rolls as the sort of initiative she’d take in the clerk’s office.

     With clerk’s runoff the only race to be on the Nov. 27 ballot, both candidates agree turnout will be key.

     In Tuesday’s election, 66 percent of registered voters cast ballots according to unofficial numbers.

     Those numbers are nearly complete, but lack about 200 affidavit ballots election commissioners planned to county Wednesday morning.