March 13, 2013 3:24:02 PM
Certified election results show Eddie Longstreet maintained an eight-vote advantage over Jeannine Johnson-Staten and will now face Karl Gibbs in an April 2 runoff for the vacant Miss. District 36 House seat.
Longstreet held a five-point lead over Johnson-Staten after unofficial results were tallied by Lowndes, Clay and Monroe election officials Tuesday, but those numbers did not reflect absentee or affidavit ballots.
Circuit Clerk representatives from all three counties confirmed those remaining ballots were counted Wednesday, and their respective offices were in the process of filing results with the Secretary of State's office.
Gibbs' officially earned 843 votes, a six-ballot increase from unofficial Tuesday numbers. Longstreet increased his second place total to 659 once affidavits and absentees were counted, while Johnson-Staten's final total increased by one vote to 651.
Since Tuesday's six candidates failed to receive a majority of the tri-county vote, a runoff will be held in April. The winner of that race will serve the current four-year House term which ends January 2016.
Gibbs led Clay County with 701 votes, while Johnson-Staten trailed him by 62 votes. Longstreet amassed 452 votes in that county.
Longstreet distanced himself from Johnson-Staten in Monroe County, where he picked up 202 votes. Johnson-Staten only received 10 votes in the county, while Gibbs amassed 139.
Only 13 Lowndes County voters cast ballots in Tuesday's election. Longstreet led the county with five votes, while Gibbs (3) and Johnson-Staten (2) combined to equal his total.
Three other candidates - Jimmy Davidson, Bobby C. Davis and Roderick Van Daniel - received a combined 851 votes from the tri-county electorate.
House District 36 was left vacant when former Rep. David Gibbs, D-West Point, died Jan. 13. David Gibbs had served since 1993. He was 76.
Tuesday's election was the second special-call vote this year for the area. Miss. Sen. Bennie Turner, D-West Point, died in December, and a special election was held Jan. 15 to fill his seat. Turner's daughter, Angela, won that race.
Carl Smith covers Starkville and Oktibbeha County for The Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter @StarkDispatch
1. Coach Marsh will be remembered COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY