Runoff to determine three local judges, U.S. senator


The upcoming runoff election on Nov. 27 will determine three local judicial positions – one in chancery court, one in county/youth court and another in justice court – along with one of two Mississippi’s spots for United States Senator. The runoff election was necessitated after none of the candidates in the Nov. 6 general election received the required 50 percent of the vote plus one vote.

Polls are open from 7 a.m.-7 p.m.


Lamar and Forrest counties

Vanessa Jones and Chad Smith will face off in the nonpartisan election for Chancery Court District 10, Place 4. 

Jones has served in the U.S. Army and as Hattiesburg Municipal Court Judge, as well as Assistant District Attorney for Forrest and Perry counties. She also was public defender for the 15th Circuit Court and Justice Court Judge for Forrest County.

Smith has practiced law for almost 19 years in area chancery courts, handling adoption, custody, probate and divorce matters.

The 10th District represents Forrest, Lamar, Marion, Pearl River and Perry counties. The winner of the post will take over for the retiring M. Ronald Doleac.

In a special, nonpartisan election for United States Senate, incumbent Cindy-Hyde Smith will seek election against challenger Mike Espy.

Hyde-Smith, who formerly served as Mississippi Agriculture Commissioner, was appointed by Gov. Phil Bryant in April to temporarily fill the spot vacated by the retirement of former U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran. Espy has formerly served as United States Secretary of Agriculture and was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Mississippi’s 2nd Congressional District.


Forrest County

Pamela Luckie Castle and Carol Jones Russell will face off in the election for the position of Forrest County and Youth Court Judge.

Castle has served as Forrest County Prosecutor for the past 15 years and has worked in child abuse cases and as a juvenile crime investigator. Russell has worked as a judicial clerk for the Mississippi Supreme Court and as a public defender for the Forrest County Public Defender’s Office, and has served as Hattiesburg Municipal Court Judge pro tem and as a parent representative for Forrest County Youth Court.

Anthony T. McCullum and Zachary M. Vaughn will vie for the position of Justice Court District 2, Post 2.

McCullum serves as the pastor of Piney Grove Baptist Church and is a court liaison and probation officer for Court Programs, Inc. He has volunteered at the South Mississippi Correctional Institution in Leakesville for 26 years.

Vaughn serves as Municipal Prosecutor for the City of Petal and works as an attorney at Vaughn Law Firm, PLLC in Petal. He earned his Juris Doctorate in 2004 from Mississippi College.

The winner of the race will fill the seat vacated by the retiring George “Pat” Causey.