1st District Election

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 5, 2010

Panola votes to keep Dem, but district flips to GOP

By Billy Davis

Panola Countians voted Tuesday to return U.S. Rep. Travis Childers back to Washington. The rest of the 1st District, however, sent him back to Prentiss County.

Childers, a freshman Democrat, was unable to stop a wave of voter anger that flipped 61 House seats from Democrat to Republican control, including Mississippi’s 1st District.

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Childers, aware of voter unrest, had tried to portray himself as an independent-minded congressman, reminding voters that he had opposed his own party at times.

In the end, it didn’t matter. Election returns showed Republican Alan Nunnelee carried 55 percent of votes cast in the 1st District.

“The people wanted their country back,” a Nunnelee spokesman told The Panolian Tuesday night, when returns showed the Republican state senator had won.

Childers captured 41 percent district wide, losing by approximately 30,700 votes to his challenger.

In Panola County, Childers captured 6,083 votes compared to 4,461 votes cast for Nunnelee.

Panola returns showed Childers won the county with 41 percent when 24 precincts were counted late Tuesday night.

Childers had enjoyed 59 percent of Panola County’s votes in 2008, when he ran against Southaven Mayor Greg Davis.

Childers, after his loss Tuesday, lamented party divide between Democrats and Republicans in Washington, according to press reports.

“We worked hard and we worked across the aisle and I’m sad that we live in a society that you are punished for working across the aisle,” Childers said. “I would rather come home than be a part of the problem there.”

The congressional race for the 1st District was mostly unmoved by the presence of independent and third-party candidates. Those campaigns were expected to pull votes from Nunnelee. In the end, that didn’t matter either.

Batesville candidate Wally Pang, running for the second time in two years, won one percent of the vote in the 1st District, according to The Clarion-Ledger.

Pang fared better at home, where official returns showed he netted 1,442 votes, about 12 percent. He had captured eight percent of Panola County ballots in 2008.

A second Batesville candidate, Richard “Rico” Hoskins, captured 154 votes in Panola County Tuesday.