Palazzo wins; Daryl Smith, Culpepper in supervisor runoff; Weir wins PRC school board race

Published 1:42 pm Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Tuesday night GOP challenger State Rep. Steven Palazzo of Biloxi eased ahead of Democrat Congressman Gene Taylor of Bay St. Louis, in the race for the fourth congressional seat held by Taylor since 1989.

Palazzo was on the way to what was a stunning defeat of  incumbent Taylor, who has occupied the seat for 21 years.

Taylor led in early returns but Palazzo gradually pulled ahead.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

At 10:30 p.m. on Tuesday WLOX in Biloxi said that with 92 percent of precincts reporting Palazzo led Taylor 52 percent to 46 percent, or 86,881 to 76,997.

The Associated Press also at about the same time announced Palazzo the winner. The Sun-Herald newspaper in Biloxi at 10:30 p.m. was reporting Palazzo with a one percentage point lead over Taylor with 85 percent of the vote counted.

Taylor shortly afterward conceded to Palazzo. Palazzo called it an “historic election.”

Pearl River Co. helped Palazzo in his historic victory. PRC went for Palazzo slightly over a two-to-one vote margin.

Palazzo pulled in 9,861 votes, or 68.41 percent of PRC votes caste, to Taylor’s 4,319, or 29.96 percent. Libertarian candidate Tim Hampton got 136 and Reform candidate Anna Jewel Revies garnered 89 in PRC.

School Board

In other local races, Jeremy Weir, the former head coach at Pearl River Central high school, won the District Two school board seat currently occupied by Bonnie Sanders, who was serving as interim school board member until the Tuesday election could be held to fill the unexpired term of Byron Stockstill, who resigned.

With 4 of 4 precincts reporting the votes were Michael E. Holmes 123, Ryan H. Richard 76, Bonnie Sanders 148, and Weir 373. There is no runoff in this race.

Supervisor’s Race

In the supervisor District Two race to fill the unexpired term of the late supervisor Charles Culpepper, there will be a runoff on Nov. 23 between Culpepper’s widow, Joyce Culpepper, who is serving as interim supervisor, and Daryl Smith, who lives in Henleyfield Community and is a City of Picayune department supervisor.

There were eight candidates vying for the District Two post. Smith is no stranger to a runoff. He ran off a previous contest against the late Mr. Culpepper in 2007.

Smith garnered 977 votes or 30.58 percent of votes caste, to lead the field, and Mrs. Culpepper 945 votes or 29.58 percent, in unofficial tabulations. With 9 of 9 precincts reporting the other votes were: Kent Dunn 361, Joe Knezevich 255, Rayford Lee 109, Rafe Smith 396, Keith Stines 82, and Signey A. Woodson 63.

Said Culpepper, “I want to thank those who voted for me, and ask for their continued support in the runoff so I can fill out the rest of my husband’s term.”

Said Smith, “I too want to thank those who helped me and I will continue to work hard to gain the voters support in the runoff.” Both  were at the courthouse watching returns.


In the judgeship races, long-time circuit court judge for District 15, Place 1, Judge R.I. “Rip” Prichard III garnered 7,329 votes in PRC to his opponent Anthony A. “Tony” Mozingo’s 5,062. Returns from other counties in the district were not available at press time.

In the race for Chancery Court Judge, District 10, Place 2, Pearl River Co. prosecuting attorney Aaron L. Russell, Jr., easily took his home county of Pearl River. Russell garnered 5,142 votes to Dawn H. Beam’s 3,002 and Scott Phillips 1,702. It was not clear late Tuesday night who had won the post as votes from other counties were not available.

In the Circuit Court Judge, District 15, Place 2, race, Judge Prentiss G. Harrell won re-election over Joseph L. Turney and carried PRC by a two-to-one vote.

Just four of the nine judgeships on the ballot were contested.

One of the nine, Chancery Court Judge, District 10, Place 1, was declared a write-in contest after incumbent Judge James H.C. Thomas, Jr., died on Oct. 1 and the ballots had already been printed showing him as an uncontested race.

Ten candidates announced as write-ins for his seat. However, Thomas seemed to be getting most of the votes, although deceased, and that will necessitate the governor having to appoint an interim judge until a special election can be held.

In Pearl River County alone, the deceased judge got 7,540 votes to the write-ins’ total of 3,046.

All results quoted here are unofficial.