Smallwood, Touchstone elected to judges’ posts

By HASKEL BURNS,

Voters in Forrest and Lamar counties turned outin large numbers to the polls during Tuesday’s midterm election for a total of 40,242 ballots cast – or 47.18 percent of registered voters in Forrest County voters and 56.36 percent in Lamar County – to choose a new chancery court judge, a county court judge, school board members and state representatives, while two judge posts will be determined in a Nov. 27 runoff.

In final but unofficial results, with Forrest County still in the process of counting 1,201 absentee ballots Tuesday night, Sheila Havard Smallwood was elected the new chancery court judge for District 10 Place 3, defeating challenger Bob Marshall 21,210 votes to 13,456. Smallwood served for 16 years as Petal Municipal Court judge and is currently a Forrest County Justice Court judge. The 10th Chancery District serves Forrest, Lamar, Marion, Pearl River and Perry counties.

“I am honored and humbled to be elected by the citizens of the 10th Chancery Court District to serve as Chancery Court Judge,” Smallwood said. “I give thanks to all of those who contributed to my campaign, to my campaign committee and to my family and friends for all of their support.

“I accept the challenge to fill the shoes of retiring Judge Johnny Williams and will judge all cases before me with integrity and impartiality.”

Brad Touchstone, who currently serves as the District 101 representative in the Mississippi House of Representatives, handily won the race for Lamar County Court Judge, defeating Douglas E. Miller 13,260 votes to 4,067.

A runoff will be held for Chancery Court Judge, District 10, Place 4, as none of the six candidates received the necessary 50 percent of the vote plus one vote. As the two candidates who garnered the most votes, Vanessa Jones and Chad Smith will face off in the election. They were followed by Stacey Sims Barber, Chad Smith (7,037 votes) and C.M. Howdeshell (6,864 votes). Joseph L. Turney garnered 2,564 votes and Harry R. Lane received 497.

A runoff also will be held for Forrest County Justice Court Post 2, with Anthony T. McCullum (1,988 votes) and Zachary M. Vaughn (1,552 votes) vying for the position in the runoff. Chris Townsend received 1,236 votes, while John Derek Tryner garnered 921 votes.

Ditto for the Forrest County Youth Court Judge seat, in which Pamela Luckie Castle (6,194 votes) will face Carol Jones Russell (6,428 votes) in the runoff. J.D. “Jim” Johnson received 4,324 votes and Robert Davis garnered 2,826 votes in the election.

Angela Brown defeated Cliff Lazenby in the race for Forrest County School Board District 3, 814 votes to 687.

Gentry Mordica will retain his seat as Forrest County Election Commissioner for District 1, defeating challenger F. Charles Phillips Sr. 2,227 votes to 1,763.  Mordica was appointed to fill the spot after former commissioner Tyler Wood resigned shortly after defeating Phillips in the previous election.

James “Jim” Braswell won the election for Lamar County School District B, defeating Reggie Townsend 1,669 votes to 949. Braswell previously served on the William Carey University Board of Trustees, as well as the U.S. Air Force.

Incumbent Terry Ingram narrowly won the race for Lamar County School Board District D, with 2,200 votes to Matt Miller’s 1,974 votes. Ingram is an assistant professor of education and graduate recruiter at William Carey University, and previously served as principal at Oak Grove Middle School.

In state races, incumbent U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, a Republican, garnered 496,241 votes to defeat three challengers to his seat: Democrat David Baria (332,526 votes), Libertarian candidate Danny Bedwell (11,674 votes) and Reform Party candidate Shawn O’Hara (5,319 votes). Wicker, who has served in the position since 2007, formerly was a member of the United States House of Representatives and the Mississippi State Senate.

Republican Steven Palazzo will retain his seat on the United States House of Representatives 4th Congressional District, defeating Democrat Jeramey Anderson and Reform Party candidate Lajeena Sheets. Palazzo received 131,963 votes, while Anderson received 53,879 votes and Sheets 1,990. Palazzo, who assumed the office in 2011, enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1988 and currently serves in the Mississippi Army National Guard.

The highly-contested race to fill retiring U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran’s seat will be decided in a runoff, as incumbent Republican Cindy-Hyde Smith and Democrat Mike Espy both received 41 percent of the vote statewide. Hyde-Smith pulled in 358,413 votes, while Espy received 351,196. Chris McDaniel received 142,419 and Tobey Bernard Bartee pulled in 12,454.

Several local races in Tuesday’s election were unopposed:

Supreme Court Justice District 2, Position 1: Incumbent David Ishee was re-elected with 32,235 votes. He was appointed to the post by Bryant in 2017 to replace former Justice Jess Dickinson. Ishee formerly served as a judge on the Mississippi Court of Appeals.

Court of Appeals District 5, Position 1: Incumbent Anthony Lawrence garnered 32,376 votes. Lawrence currently serves as the District Attorney for Jackson, George and Greene Counties.

Court of Appeals District 5, Position 2: Incumbent Sean Tindell pulled in 31,973 votes. He was appointed by Bryant in 2017 to replace Ishee after Ishee was appointed to the Mississippi Supreme Court.

Chancery Court Judge District 10, Place 1: Incumbent Deborah J. Gambrell was re-elected to the position with 33,564 votes. She was appointed to the position by former Gov. Haley Barbour in 2011 to replace James H.C. Thomas Jr.

Chancery Court Judge District 10, Place 2: Incumbent Rhea Sheldon won re-election with 32,108 votes. Before serving as judge, Sheldon worked as a judicial law clerk for the Supreme Court of Mississippi from 2002-2003.

Circuit Court Judge District 15, Place 1: Anthony “Tony” Mozingo won his third term Tuesday with 15,888 votes.

Circuit Court Judge District 15, Place 2: Prentiss G. Harrell won re-election with 15,655 votes. He was first elected to the court in 2007.

Circuit Court Judge District 15, Place 3: Claiborne “Buddy” McDonald won re-election with 15,204 votes.

Circuit Court Judge District 12, Place 1: Bob Helfrich was re-elected with 17,996 votes.

Circuit Court Judge District 12, Place 2: Jon Mark Weathers, who previously served as District Attorney, won re-election with 17,780 votes.

Forrest County School Board, District 4: Ronnie Perkins, who currently serves as the director of the Public Works Department for the city of Hattiesburg, won the seat with 555 votes.