Election season draws to an end

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Election season draws to an end

By Rita Howell
Polls are open today from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. as voters select their leaders for the next four years, from governor to school district trustee.

In Panola County, no local race has drawn more interest that the sheriff’s, with incumbent Dennis Darby, an independent, facing challenges from Otis Griffin, a former sheriff also running as an independent, and the Democratic nominee, Mark Whitten, a former sheriff’s deputy.
Also facing an opponent is Panola Chancery Clerk Jim Pitcock, an independent, who is challenged by Democratic nominee Mike Darby.

While District 1 Justice Court Judge Mike Wilson, a Democrat, drew no challengers, in District 2, Democratic nominee Charlie Baglan faces independents Chuck Tucker and James Weaver. They seek the post held by longtime Justice Court Judge Bill Joiner, who is retiring.

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There are contests in each of the five supervisor districts, with nine candidates identifying as independent and bypassing the August primaries.

In District 1, incumbent Democrat James Birge faces independents David Arnold and Nicholas Hardy.

District 2 Supervisor Vernice Avant is challenged by independents Timothy Holliday and Keith Mothershead.

In District 3, incumbent John Thomas, the Democratic nominee, faces Republican nominee Kenneth R. Williams and independent John McCollum.

In District 4, five men are seeking the supervisor’s position. They are: Republican nominee John O. Greene, Democratic nominee Donald Phelps, and independents Joe Horton, Mike Moore and Whit Tidwell.

District 5 incumbent Cole Flint, the Democratic nominee, has a challenge from independent Ted Stewart.

South Panola School District 3 trustee Sandra Darby has a challenge from Justin Pope.
Panola District 2 Constable Raye Hawkins, the Democratic nominee, faces opposition from Earl Burdette, an independent.

Panola voters in State Senate District 9 will choose between Democrat Cristen Hemmins and Republican Gray Tollison, the incumbent.

In State Senate District 14, which includes only three Panola precincts, voters will choose from among incumbent Lydia Chassaniol, a Republican; Georgio Proctor, a Democrat, and Donny Ryals, an independent.

Voters who reside in State House District 10 will choose between incumbent Nolan Mettetal, the Republican nominee, and independent Ken Daugherty.

Incumbents who are unopposed, but still listed on the ballot, include: Panola Count Attorney Charlie Gaines Baker, Panola County Tax Collector and Assessor David Garner; Panola County Circuit Clerk Melissa Meek-Phelps; Panola County Coroner Gracie Grant-Gulledge; North Panola School District 2B Trustee Verna Lasha Hunter; District 1 Constable Eric “Buck” Harris; District 11 State Senator Robert Jackson and District 11 Representative Lataisha Jackson.
In addition to statewide races, the ballot also includes the controversial Initiative Measure No. 42.