Ross wins District 3 primary, sheriff race goes to runoff

By STAFF REPORTS,

It took until Wednesday afternoon to confirm, but in the most closely-contested race in Tuesday's primary election, Forrest County District 3 Supervisor Burkett Ross retained his seat over challenger Steve Stringer.

After absentee ballots were counted Tuesday night, Ross was only a few votes ahead of Stringer. By the time officials at Forrest County Circuit Court had finished counting affidavit ballots Wednesday, Ross was declared the winner with 2,224 votes to Stringer's 2,210 votes.

Because no Independent or Democratic candidates are seeking the seat, Ross will run unopposed in November's general election.

In another hotly-contested race, David Bassett and Charlie Sims will head to the Aug. 27 runoff to determine the Republican nomination for Forrest County Sheriff. Because none of the three Republican candidates in the sheriff’s race garnered 50 percent of the vote plus one vote, the two candidates who received the most votes – Bassett (5,678 votes) and Sims (5,580 votes) – will meet again in the runoff. Basset and Sims were trailed by Nick Calico, who earned 286 votes.

Sims, 60, retired as chief of police from the Hattiesburg Police Department in 2001 and has been Assistant Director of Public Safety for Forrest General Hospital since 2005.

He also served as curriculum coordinator for the Mississippi Police Corp Program and director of Staff Development for the National Police Corp Program.

He has a degree in criminal justice from The University of Southern Mississippi.

“We came up a little short on our goal, but we’re in the runoff and we’re excited about it,” Sims said. “We’ll continue to knock on doors, explain to people the importance of this election, what it means for Forrest County and why I’m the best candidate to take the Forrest County Sheriff’s Department to the next level.”

Bassett has more than 20 years of law enforcement experience, beginning his law enforcement career in 1997 at the Petal Police Department. During his time there he served as a patrol officer, sergeant, K-9 officer, Swat team member and as chief investigator. He also assisted the Hattiesburg Police Department as a part of a joint neighborhood enhancement team with his K-9 partner.  In 2006, Bassett became a deputy with the Forrest County Sheriff’s Office. He has worked in investigations as well as on patrol during his years of service as a deputy sheriff.

Bassett is a graduate of the Mississippi Command College at the University of Mississippi.

“The experience I have gained from working the inner portion of the cities to the outer regions of the county for more than 20 years will benefit all of Forrest County for decades to come,” he said in a previous story.

The winner of the runoff will face Independent candidates Jerry Oswalt Sr. and Kenny Johnson in the November general election. The winner of that election will take over for current Sheriff Billy McGee, who is retiring at the end of this term.

Other local races in Forrest County included:

• Tax Collector: Malcolm C. Berch (R) 4,797, Billy Hudson (R) 6,385. Hudson, 81, who has served as a Mississippi legislator for the last 11 years, announced in October 2018 he would not seek re-election to his Senate post. He will run unopposed in the general election.

• Chancery Clerk: Lance C. Reid (R) 10,529. Reid will run unopposed in the general election. Reid had no opposition in the race that will find him in the chair Jimmy Havard has held for 50 years. Havard did not seek re-election.

• Circuit Clerk: Gwen Wilks (R) 10,635. Wilks will run unopposed in the general election.

• Tax Assessor: Mary Ann Palmer (R) 10,748. Palmer will run unopposed in the general election.

• District 1 Justice Court Judge: Wes Curry (R) 3,965. Curry will run unopposed in the general election.

• District 3 Justice Court Judge: Gay Polk-Payton (D) 1,634. Polk-Payton will run unopposed in the general election.

• District 4 Justice Court Judge: Robert Davis (D) 1,493. Davis will run unopposed in the general election.

• District 1 Constable: Mike Harris (R) 3,927. Harris will run unopposed in the general election.

• District 2 Constable: John Tryner (R) 4,433. Tryner will run unopposed in the general election.

• Coroner: Butch Benedict Jr. (R) 10,777, Alfreda R. Gray (D) 3,861. Benedict and Gray will face Independent candidate Elizabeth Broome Gillentine in the general election.

• Prosecutor: David Frank Myers (R) 6,093, Elizabeth L. Porter (R) 4,969. Myers will run unopposed in the general election.

• District 1 Supervisor: David Hogan (R), 2,257, Hogan will run unopposed in the general election. He is the only supervisor to not face an opponent in this election cycle.

• District 2 Supervisor: Allen Rainey (R) 1,037, Charles “Chip” Brown (D) 276, Charles Marshall (D), 618, Sharon A. Thompson (D), 635. Marshall and Thompson will meet in the Aug. 27 runoff election, with the winner facing Rainey in the general election.

• District 4 Supervisor: Brian Cawthon (R) 572, Sampson Long (R) 194, Roderick “Rod” Woullard (D), 1,146. Incumbent Woullard will meet Cawthon in the general election.

• District 5 Supervisor: Incumbent Chris Bowen (R), 1,849 will face Independent candidate Ed Assaf in the general election. Bowen met Brandon “Bama” Robertson (R), who garnered 800 votes, in the primary.

• District 2 Justice Court Judge: David Jarrell (R), 1,601, Zachary M. Vaughn (R), 3,070. Vaughn will face Independent candidate Anthony T. McCullum in the general election.

• District 3 Constable: Jennifer Brown-Travis (D), 1,590. Travis will face Independent candidates Prince Woullard Jr., Luther E. Reid and Jerry Alford in the general election.

• District 4 Constable: Phillip Hendricks (R) 1,362, Anthony “Ant” Bowens (D),670, Tommy Joe “Cookie” Cook (D) 959. Hendricks and Cook will face off in the general election.

• Senate District 34: Steven L. Wade (R) 688, Juan Barnett (D) 578, Deborah Delgado (D) 1,639.

• Senate District 41: Joey Fillingane (R), 275. Fillingane will run unopposed in the general election.

• Senate District 42: Chris McDaniel (R) 2,434.

• Senate District 45: Chris Johnson (R) 7,120.

• House District 87: William “Billy” Andrews III (R), 762, Trey Harvison (R), 153, Ricardo Mussiett (R) 529, Joseph “Bubba” Tubb (R) 431. Lamar County also is included in this race.

• House District 102: Missy Warren McGee (R) 2,729, Brandon Terrion Rue (D) 969. McGee and Rue will face off in the general election.

• House District 103: Edward Hargrove Jr. (D) 315, Percy Watson (D) 2,285. Watson will run unopposed in the general election.

• House District 104: Larry Byrd (R) 5316. Byrd will run unopposed in the general election.

• District Attorney: Lin Carter (R) 10,670. Carter will face Independent candidate DeCarlo Hood in the general election.

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