Dem decided, GOP unsettled for Senate seat

By Bobby Harrison/NEMS Daily Journal

Northeast Mississippi’s lone vacant state Senate seat has one party nominee settled but another still in question after Tuesday’s voting.
Russell Jolly, a Chickasaw County cattle farmer, has advanced to the Nov. 8 general election in Senate District 8 after winning the Democratic primary. Jolly, 57, who won a majority in a three-candidate field, is awaiting the official winner of the Republican primary.
Based on returns posted Tuesday night, Patsy Gregory of Okolona had a slim 1,304-1,293 lead over Victor Horn, a Houston physician. But Tim Saler, a spokesman for the state Republican Party, said Thursday it was now down to a four-vote lead for Gregory.
Senate District 8 includes all of Chickasaw County and portions of Lee, Calhoun and Grenada counties. The Republican executive committee in each of those counties must certify the votes and send the results to the state party, which is scheduled to meet Thursday to certify its nominees for the Nov. 8 general election.
The seat is vacant because of the death earlier this year of incumbent Democrat Jack Gordon of Okolona.
There will be three legislative runoffs in the region Aug. 23.
James Nunnally and Jody Steverson, both of Ripley, will advance to a runoff in the House District 4 Democratic primary.
The winner will face Republican primary winner James Benefield of Ripley. Incumbent Democrat Greg Ward didn’t seek re-election.
Don Randolph of Holly Springs and Billy Gray of Hickory Flat are in a runoff in House District 13, where incumbent Jack Gadd ran for superintendent. The winner will face Republican Steve Massengill of Hickory Flat.
In House District 19, incumbent Mark DuVall of Mantachie and former incumbent Jamie Franks, chairman of the state Democratic Party, are in a runoff.
DuVall led on Tuesday with 44 percent to 34 percent for Franks. Randy Boyd of Mantachie, who won the Republican primary, awaits the winner.
In other Northeast Mississippi legislative races:
* House District 17 incumbent Republican Brian Aldridge of Tupelo defeated Michael Stafford of Okolona and has no general election opposition.
* Thomas McCarley of Iuka defeated Rex Weathers of Burnsville in the House District 1 Democratic primary. Incumbent Republican Lester “Bubba” Carpenter of Burnsville was unopposed in his party.
* Tommy Cadle of Booneville won the Democratic primary for House District 3 and will face Republican William Tracy Arnold of Booneville in the general election.
It’s the seat held by the retiring Speaker Billy McCoy, D-Rienzi.
* Hollan Holly Raney of Oxford won the Democratic primary to replace the retiring Noal Akins, R-Oxford. Raney will face Republican Brad Mayo of Oxford in November.
* Deborah Tierce of Fulton won the Republican primary in House District 21 and will face Democratic incumbent Donnie Bell of Fulton in November.
* Incumbent Bill Stone of Ashland won the Democratic primary in Senate District 2. He’ll face Republican Michael Cobb of Walnut in November.
bobby.harrison@journalinc.com