There is a change in leadership at the top of state government in Jackson with Tuesday’s election of Republican Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves over Democratic Attorney General Jim Hood as the state’s next governor, replacing Phil Bryant, who leaves the office due to term limits.
Meanwhile, Republican Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann is set to become the next Lt. Governor with his victory Tuesday over Democrat Jay Hughes.
At the DeSoto County level, leadership will remain pretty much as per usual, with the only exception being Ray Denison’s victory over Bacardi M. Harris in Supervisor District 3. The seat became open with Bill Russell’s decision earlier this year not to run for re-election. Denison, husband of Walls Mayor Patti Denison, won election on a 2,753-1,796 vote.
The other contested seat on the county Board of Supervisors Tuesday will remain with the current District 2 Supervisor Mark Gardner, a 6,001-3,003 winner over challenger James E. Woodard.
Current supervisors Jesse Medlin, Lee Caldwell, and Michael Lee, were all re-elected Tuesday without opposition.
DeSoto County’s representation at the legislative level also remained pretty much intact with few changes, but one race remained in doubt after Tuesday’s vote. That is the seat for House District 40, where only 13 votes were separating incumbent Republican state Rep. Ashley Henley and Democratic challenger Hester Jackson McCray. In the unofficial final totals from Tuesday, McCray was leading the race by a 1,549-1,536 margin.
A party official Tuesday night said Henley had not conceded defeat and was planning to challenge the results, despite McCray claiming victory on social media. The race is still in doubt because provisional ballots are not counted on election night but will be included when all results are made official.
DeSoto County Schools district administrator Jerry Darnell will take the House District 28 seat with his easy win over challenger Matt Williams by a 6,861-1,194 result. Darnell takes the seat currently held by state Rep. Robert Foster, a former challenger to Reeves in the GOP primary race this year.
Incumbent House District 7 state Rep. Steve Hopkins was returned to the state Legislature Tuesday, beating back Theresa Gillespie Isom 3,723-1,932.
State Sens. David Parker and Kevin Blackwell were both re-elected Tuesday, with Parker outpolling Lee A. Jackson 6,115-4,017 in Senate District 2; while Blackwell claimed a 7,126-3,908 decision over Dianne Black in Senate District 19.
In other legislative races affecting DeSoto County, Hernando alderman Michael McLendon won unopposed in Senate District 1, state Rep. Dana Criswell won without opposition in House District 6, as was state Rep. Jeff Hale in House District 24. State Rep. Dan Eubanks was unopposed in House District 25, as was state Rep. Bill Kinkade in House District 52, which includes DeSoto and Marshall counties.
At the state level, John Caldwell of Nesbit received solid DeSoto County support on his way to victory for Northern District Transportation Commissioner with 25,328 votes in the county to Joe T. “Joey” Grist’s 11,100 votes from DeSoto County voters. Mike Chaney was supported by 24,895 county voters in his victory as Insurance Commissioner, Andy Gipson won election as Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce with backing of 24,616 county votes, and current State Treasurer Lynn Fitch was elected Attorney General with the help of 24,326 DeSoto County ballots. David McRae won election to Fitch’s current position as State Treasurer with the aid of 24,916 ballots from DeSoto County.
Shad White is the state’s new State Auditor and Northern District Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley also ran unopposed for re-election.
In Tate Reeves’ victory over Jim Hood, Reeves attracted 22,480 county ballots to Hood’s 13,919. Hosemann, the current Secretary of State, got the backing of 24,628 DeSoto County votes to Hughes with 12,087. Michael Watson will take over Hosemann’s job as Secretary of State and in winning the election received 24,503 county votes to defeat Johnny Dupree.
In other results from Tuesday, John Champion remains District Attorney without opposition, Josh Pounders won election as County Coroner with a one-sided victory over Lora Oxner Eytchison, and Larry Vaughn was elected Justice Court Judge in District 2 over Willie Obadiah Lyons.
Winners in the other county level races were all running without opposition, including justice court judges Billy Lantrip, Brad Russell, Karen Sanders Carter and Ken Adams; constables Lawrence Vaughn, Mitzi Stewart Hodge, Keith Combes, Bobby Holloway, and Ken Hodge; Chancery Clerk Misty Taylor Heffner, Circuit Clerk Dale Kelly Thompson, County Attorney James E. Holland, Sheriff Bill Rasco, Tax Assessor Jeff Fitch, and Tax Collector Joey Treadway.
A total of 37,267 voters took part in Tuesday’s general election, or 33.78 percent of the county’s registered voters. Election officials said 1,047 absentee voters cast ballots.
CLICK HERE for the unofficial election results from DeSoto County Government.
Bob Bakken is Managing Editor of the DeSoto Times-Tribune.