Low turnout expected for primary runoffs

August 21, 2011 12:16:00 AM

Garthia Elena Burnett -

 

In Lowndes and Oktibbeha counties, just more than a third of the voters cast ballots in the Aug. 2 primaries. Clay County boasted more than half of its registered voters turning out to the polls. 

 

But this Tuesday likely will be a different story. 

 

"Unfortunately, we don''t have as good of a turnout for the runoff as for the first election," said Haley Salazar, Lowndes County circuit clerk. 

 

Despite the trend for Lowndes County to drop to as low as 10-percent voter turnout, Salazar said the election is important. 

 

"If there''s a candidate that you''re wanting to see get to the general election, it''s important to vote (in the runoff)," she said. 

 

Lowndes County has two races headed to a runoff -- sheriff and superintendent of education. 

 

Republicans Mike Arledge and Bo Harris will face off to see who will meet Democrat Selvain McQueen in the November election for sheriff. Sheriff Butch Howard is retiring after 16 years in office. 

 

Republicans Edna McGill and Lynn Wright meet in the Republican primary runoff to see who will head into the general election. The winner there will face Democrat Cliff Reynolds and independents Rusty Greene and Roger Hill. 

 

Superintendent Mike Halford is retiring after eight years in office. 

 

Oktibbeha County has four races headed to a runoff -- sheriff, tax assessor/collector, District 5 supervisor and circuit clerk. 

 

Thirty-six year incumbent Sheriff Dolph Bryan faces Steve Gladney in the Democratic primary. The winner faces Republican Rudy Johnson in the general election. 

 

The Democratic runoff for tax assessor/collector -- between Deborah Carrithers and Velesia Wynn -- will determine who faces Republican Allen Morgan in the general election. 

 

In the District 5 supervisors race, incumbent John L. Young faces Joe L. Williams in the Democratic runoff. The winner there wins the race outright; there are no independent or Republican candidates. 

 

Democratic circuit clerk candidates Teresa Davis-Roberson and Debra Prisock Wood meet in Tuesday''s runoff to decide who will face Republican Glenn Hamilton in November. The winner will replace Angie McGinnis, who is not seeking reelection. 

 

In Clay County, Democrats Linda F. Hannah and Paige Dendy Lamkin will meet in a runoff for tax assessor/collector. The winner will face Republican Becky Coe in the general election. 

 

For the primary runoff, voters cannot cross party lines. 

 

"If you voted Republican in the first election, you have to vote Republican in the runoff. If you voted Democrat in the first election, you have to vote Democrat in the runoff," Salazar said. "The runoff is a continuation of the first election, and if you voted one party in the runoff, you''ve got to stay with it, until the general election." 

 

Those who did not cast ballots in the primaries can choose their party ballot Tuesday. 

 

Statewide runoffs see Lynn Fitch facing Lee Yancey on the Republican ballot for treasurer, and on the Democratic ballot for governor, Johnny DuPree will face Bill Luckett.