Panola runoff results

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 24, 2011

   (Editor’s note: Election results in this updated story include absentee ballots that were counted late Tuesday night following the primary run-off election.)

By Billy Davis

First-time supervisor candidate John Thomas defeated incumbent Gary Thompson Tuesday night in the only upset in Panola County’s Democratic runoff.

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Thomas defeated Thompson 1,031-897 to win the Democratic nomination. John Thomas will face a Republican candidate, Monty Thomas, and independent candidate Boyce Crowell on November 8.

Supervisors James Birge and Vernice Avant fended off challenges from run-off opponents, and Melissa Meek-Phelps defeated Craig Sheley.

Birge defeated former supervisor Jessie Lyons 859-603, ending the race for the District 1 seat.

Avant defeated William Pride 802-729. She has drawn a Republican candidate, Bubba Terrell, in November. 

Phelps handily defeated Sheley 4,764-2,676, garnering 63 percent of 7,440 votes cast, including absentees. She faces Republican nominee Karen Waldo Brown and independent candidate George Williford in November.

More than 600 absentees were being counted by election officials, election commissioner Ronald McMinn said Tuesday night.

“Thank you Jesus! Thank you Lord!” Avant said in the courtroom when returns showed she had won the District 2 seat.

Panola County voters  also selected Bill Luckett over Johnny DuPree for governor, though press reports said DuPree was named the Democratic nominee statewide.

Republicans selected Lynn Fitch over Lee Yancey for state treasurer. Fitch won the nomination statewide.

(An earlier online version of this story omitted the name of Republican circuit clerk nominee Karen Waldo Brown and Boyce Crowell, an independent candidate for supervisor. The Panolian regrets the omissions.)