By Russell Hood
The Webster Progress-Times
U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran carried Webster County in the Republican primary but is headed to a runoff with state Sen. Chris McDaniel.
The McDaniel-Cochran race is going to a June 24 runoff because a third candidate received a small share of last week’s congressional primary vote, preventing either of them from receiving the majority needed to win.
In complete but unofficial results from Webster County, Cochran had 817 votes, or 51 percent, while McDaniel had 759 votes, or 47.38 percent. Thomas Carey, a real estate agent and volunteer prison minister at the state penitentiary, received 25 votes, or 1.56 percent.
Statewide results showed McDaniel with 49.5 percent while Cochran received 49 percent, according to published reports. Carey received 1.5 percent. Cochran carried every precinct in Webster County except the six that went to McDaniel: Bellefontaine, Big Black, Fay, Mathiston, Tomnolen and Walthall. Only one or two votes separated the two in some polling places.
Cochran, of Oxford, is seeking a seventh term and McDaniel is a two-term state senator from Ellisville. The runoff winner faces Democratic nominee Travis Childers in the Nov. 4 general election, along with Reform Party candidate Shawn O’Hara of Hattiesburg.
Childers, a former congressman from Booneville, won his party’s nomination for the Senate race last week and carried every precinct in Webster County, garnering about 92 percent of the vote. He was one of four candidates.
U.S. Rep. Alan Nunnelee of Tupelo was unopposed in the 1st District Republican primary. He will face the winner of the Democratic primary, Ron Dickey of Horn Lake, in November. Dickey also carried Webster County, pulling nearly 67 percent of the vote. He defeated Rex Weathers of Glen.
The general election ballot will also include Libertarian Danny Bedwell and the Reform Party’s Lajena Walley
Only 25 percent of Webster County’s 7,441 registered voters cast ballots in the primary.
The local results were still unofficial as of Friday because two voters did not present acceptable photo identification, which took effect in Mississippi with the primary election. Those voters had to cast an affidavit ballot and submit acceptable photo ID to the circuit clerk’s office by Tuesday for their ballot to be counted.
Friday is the deadline for the state party executive committees to submit certified results to the secretary of state’s office.
Citizens must have been registered for the June 3 primary election to be eligible to vote in the June 24 primary runoff election on June 24, when polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The State of Mississippi does not allow “crossover” voting, meaning, if a voter cast a Democratic primary ballot, he or she is ineligible to vote in the GOP runoff. However, if an eligible voter did not participate in the June 3 primary election at all, he or she may vote in the Republican runoff.
The Webster County circuit clerk’s office will be open from 8 a.m.-noon the next two Saturdays, June 14 and 21, to accept absentee ballots, in addition to weekday hours. Absentee ballots returned by mail must be received by the circuit clerk’s office by June 23.