Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Among the election night crowd at the Batesville courthouse were (from left) Sandra Darby, Ann Haynes, Bonnie Land and Glenn Adams. The final vote count was announced after midnight. The Panolian photo by Rupert Howell

Panola voters return incumbents to office

By Rupert Howell
Sheriff Dennis Darby won reelection to a second term as Panola County Sheriff while four incumbent Democrat supervisors and Panola County Chancery Clerk Jim Pitcock all went back into office following Tuesday’s General Election.

Running independent, Darby led challengers, former sheriff Otis Griffin and Democratic nominee Mark Whitten, with 6,010 or 52 percent of the vote. Griffin followed with 4,367 or 47 percent and Whitten with 1,260 or 11 percent of the vote.

Pitcock also ran independent and received 6,078 or 56 percent of the vote against former District Three supervisor Mike Darby who received 4,721 votes.

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District One Supervisor James Birge, District Three Supervisor John Thomas, and District Five Supervisor Cole Flint, all Democrats, also received “mandates” with strong showings in each of their races.

Incumbent Birge received 1,459 compared to challengers N. Nicky Hardy’s 260 and David W. Arnold’s 253 votes. Both ran independent.

District Two supervisor Vernice Avant outdistanced challenges by independents Keith Mothershead and Tim Holliday. Avant received less than a majority with 961 or 49 percent of the vote while Mothershead received  734 or 37 percent and Holliday  received 290 or 14 percent of that district’s votes.

Democrat nominee for District Four supervisor, Donald Phelps is now supervisor-elect and received 1285 or 49 percent of the vote, facing Republican challenger John Greene with 189, and independents Joe Horton with  74, Mike Moore with 398, and Whit Tidwell with 653. 

Phelps had previously defeated two-term supervisor Kelly Morris who serves as president of that board in the Democrat primary runoff.

Incumbent Flint in District 5 received the largest mandate, garnering 83 percent or 1,843 votes over independent challenger Ted Stewart who currently serves as a Batesville alderman.

Justice Court Judge

Charlie Baglan again led all challengers for the position of Justice Court Judge District Two. The highly competitive race featured a full slate of Democrat nominees in the primary and two independents in the general election.

Baglan received 5,519 or 69 percent of the vote against independent challengers Chuck Tucker with six percent and James Weaver with 25 percent.

Court District Two constable Raye Hawkins easily won reelection over challenger Earl Burdette. Hawkins received, 63 percent or 5101 votes. Burdette is currently serving as Como’s police chief and has formerly worked in the Panola County Sheriff’s Department.

Sandra C. Darby also easily won reelection to a five year term on the South Panola School District Board of Trustees by defeating Justin L. Pope with 66 percent or 1141 votes.

Panola voters did not turn out in the same numbers as the previous state-wide election in 2011 when 13,658 or 58 percent of the electorate turned out to vote. Tuesday’s total number of voters was 11,681 or 48 percent of registered voters, a 2,000 vote decrease.

House and Senate
In House and Senate races, incumbent District 10 State Representative Nolan Mettetal, a Republican, received a total of 4,089 Panola County votes to independent challenger Ken Daugherty’s 1,938. Mettetal polled 1,692 votes in the district’s Lafayette County percents and 334 in its Tallahatchie County percents for a total of 6115. Daugherty’s numbers in Lafayette and Tallahatchie were 743 and 78, respectively, to give him a total of 1,938.

In Senate District 9, incumbent Republican Senator Gray Tollison received 2,464 votes in Panola County to Democrat challenger Cristen Hemmins’ 1,255. Votes from Lafayette gave Tollison an overall total of 8.925 to Hemmins’ 5.845.

Panola County’s three precincts in Senate District 14 gave incumbent Republican Senator Lydia Graves Chassaniol 1,115 votes. Democratic challenger Georgio Proctor polled 518 votes; independent Donny Ryals 247. Chassaniol’s totals from District 14, which also includes portions Tallahatchie, LeFlore, Grenada, Montgomery, Attala and Yalobusha Counties as well as all of Carroll County, gave her a total vote of 9,958 to Proctor’s 4,817 and Ryals’ 3,942.

(Precinct breakdowns were not available at press time but will be available for print issue readers and subscribers and online subscribers in next Tuesday’s edition. Also, subscribe online for a small fee and compare numbers to the November 2011 General Election.)