By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – The apparent loser in the Democratic primary wants a recount of Tuesday’s ballots for Lee County District 2 justice court judge.
The apparent winner says “an attempt to circumvent election law” is under way through some local machinations to deprive him of the election.
The Secretary of State’s Office says Mississippi has no recount statute, and that only a court can order a re-count or a new election.
In Tuesday’s Democratic primary, Cliff Hardy received 355 votes, or 51 percent, while his opponent, Clinton Gannon, gained 341 votes, or 49 percent.
By Friday, Gannon said the difference was down to six or seven votes, adding affidavits.
The primary winner will face Republican incumbent John Hoyt Sheffield in the Nov. 8 general election.
Thursday, Gannon presented a request letter to Circuit Clerk Joyce Loftin and Lee County Democratic Party chairman Eric Hampton.
“Under the applicable laws,” Gannon said, he asked for a recount.
“You know, if it were 14 votes, I’d let it go,” Gannon said Friday. “But this is really for all those people who supported me and voted for me.”
Claude Hartley, a member of the Lee County Democratic Executive Committee, said the group will meet Tuesday night to certify the Aug. 2 results.
Gannon’s request likely will be on the meeting agenda.
“To get a recount, a candidate must go through a judge,” not a political committee, said Pamela Weaver, a spokeswoman for the Secretary of State’s Office.
Mississippi law, however, does allow an executive committee, candidate or his authorized representative to examine the contents of designated ballot boxes in the presence of the circuit clerk or designated deputy.
Gannon says that’s what he wants.
“I trust people more than I trust computers,” he said.