3 legislative races, 1 Court of Appeals contest on runoff ballots

Published 8:33 pm Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Mississippi voters return to the polls Tuesday for runoffs to decide a Court of Appeals contest, three special legislative elections and judgeships in five circuit and seven chancery court districts.

Polls are open 7 a.m.-7 p.m.

“In more than half of the state, there are runoff elections,” David Blount, spokesman for Secretary of State Eric Clark, said Monday. “If you don’t know whether there’s an election in your county, call your circuit clerk. If you do have an election, we would encourage people to go vote.”

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

The candidates in the runoffs advanced from the Nov. 7 general election, when races for the U.S. Senate, U.S. House, one state House seat and dozens of other judgeships were settled.

In Pearl River County, Chancery Court District 10, voters will chose between Ed Pittman and incumbent Judge Sebe Dale for place 2 race and between Gene Fair and Deborah Gambrell for place 4. In the Circuit Court District 15 runoff for place 2, voters will chose between Prentiss Harrell and Forest Dantin.

State Rep. Virginia Carlton of Columbia and Chancery Judge Ed Patten Jr. of Hazlehurst square off in the runoff for a Court of Appeals post in southwest Mississippi.

Judge Leslie Southwick did not seek re-election to the seat he had held since the Court of Appeals was founded in 1994. He has been nominated to become a federal judge in Jackson.

Carlton is serving her first term in the Mississippi House. She is a former assistant district attorney and is also a lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserves, where she serves as a judge advocate general.

Patten has 29 years of legal experience, first as a general practice lawyer, then for the past eight years on the bench.

Patten on Nov. 7 also was re-elected to his chancery court seat, running unopposed. If Patten is elected to the Court of Appeals, a special election will have to be held to fill his chancery court position. If Carlton is elected, a special election will have to be held to fill her legislative seat.

The district where Patten and Carlton are running includes parts of Hinds and Jones counties; and all of 13 other counties: Adams, Amite, Copiah, Covington, Franklin, Jefferson Davis, Lawrence, Lincoln, Marion, Pike, Simpson, Walthall and Wilkinson.

Voters in the runoffs will not see candidates’ party affiliations because all Mississippi judicial elections are nonpartisan, as are special legislative elections.

The three legislative runoffs on Tuesday will fill vacancies created by the cancer deaths of one House member and two senators earlier this year. The winners will serve the remaining time in a four-year term that ends in January 2008.

— In House District 34, Linda Whittington of Schlater and Marvin J. Cochran of Avon are in the runoff. The district includes parts of Carroll, Holmes, Humphreys, Leflore, Montgomery and Washington counties. The seat was left vacant by the death in July of second-term Rep. May Whittington, D-Schlater, Linda Whittington’s cousin by marriage.

— In Senate District 14, Lydia Chassaniol of Winona and Hiram C. Eastland III of Greenwood are in the runoff. The district includes all of Carroll County and parts of Leflore, Attala, Grenada, Montgomery and Tallahatchie counties. The seat was left vacant with the death in May of longtime Sen. Robert G. “Bunky” Huggins, R-Greenwood.

— In Senate District 41, state Rep. Joey Fillingane of Sumrall and City Councilwoman Deborah Denard Delgado of Hattiesburg advanced to the runoff. The district includes parts of Covington, Forrest, Jefferson Davis, Lamar and Marion counties. The Senate seat was left vacant by the death in March of Sen. Billy Harvey, D-Prentiss.