Thursday, August 30, 2007
wins tax assessor job
By BARRY BURLESON
The word to best describe the races in Tuesday’s Democratic Primary Runoff Election in Marshall County was close.
Most winners were unsure until the final set of precincts were totaled upstairs in the courthouse, and one race, justice court judge North District, was too close to call at press-time.
In perhaps the most watched race of the night, Juanita M. Dillard was elected county tax assessor. Unofficial totals showed her with 3,014 votes (54 percent) to Donna Fitch Olita’s 2,521 (46 percent).
The two are both employed as deputy tax assessors. Ronnie Johnson did not seek re-election.
“I’m numb,” said Dillard, shortly after being handed the totals.
“Praise God. It was the kind of campaign where we could all stay together and work together (in the assessor’s office). I thank God first of all, and I thank the voters next. It’s nothing I did on my own.”
Dillard will be unopposed in the November 6 general election.
James R. Anderson got the Democratic nod for county coroner. He beat incumbent John Garrison 2,822 votes (52 percent) to 2,606 (48 percent). Garrison had served one term as coroner.
Anderson will meet Independent candidate Bobby L. Watson in November.
The tightest race of the night, between incumbent Eugene Brown Jr. and Mae Garrison for justice court judge North, was still undecided at press-time late Tuesday night. According to unofficial totals, which included all 10 precincts in that district and absentee and curbside votes, Brown had an 18-vote lead. He had 1,031 votes (50.44 percent) to Garrison’s 1,013 (49.56 percent).
The same two were in the runoff four years ago with Brown taking the narrow victory.
The winner will have no opponent in November.
In the Senate District 2 race, Bill Stone claimed 52 percent of the vote in Marshall County and a much bigger win district-wide.
In Marshall, Stone got 2,815 votes to Henry Boyd Jr.’s 2,613 (48 percent).
“I feel good,” Stone said shortly after getting the numbers from Marshall County. “I appreciate all the people who worked so hard for me. I’m going to take a few days off and hit it again about Labor Day.”
Stone got 64 percent of the vote district-wide.
In Tippah County, unofficial totals showed Stone with 2,633 votes to Boyd’s 732.
In Benton County, unofficial totals showed Stone with 2,433 votes to Boyd’s 1,019.
Stone will advance to meet Republican incumbent Ralph Doxey in the November 6 general election.
A statewide race on Tuesday’s ballot featured Todd Brand versus Mike Sumrall for state auditor on the Democratic ticket.
In Marshall County, Sumrall received 2,555 votes (57 percent) to 1,881 votes (42 percent) for Brand.
Sumrall had a slim lead state-wide at press-time Tuesday night.
The winner faces Republican state Sen. Stacey Pickering of Laurel in the Nov. 6 general election.
The first precinct to arrive at the courthouse Tuesday night was Red Banks.
All 24 precincts were in and totaled electronically just before 9 p.m. Absentee votes were then counted by hand and completed around 10:30 p.m. Affidavit votes in all of the races were to be counted on Wednesday (August 29).
About 30 percent of the registered voters in Marshall County voted in Tuesday’s Democratic Primary Runoff Election.
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