By Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Lee County Assistant Road Manager Billy Joe Holland will become the new District 5 supervisor after beating incumbent Joe McKinney in Tuesday’s runoff.
McKinney, a first-term incumbent, lost the election by 146 ballots, according to unofficial returns from the Lee County Circuit Clerk’s office.
He had 46 percent of the vote to Holland’s 54. The two faced off after neither had won a majority in the three-way Democratic primary race on Aug. 2.
“All the hard work paid off,” said Holland, celebrating his victory at home in Plantersville. “I’m tickled to death. I’m humbled.”
The 59-year-old said he’ll spend his first term working to boost academic achievement among the county’s youth and recruit more industries and jobs to the region.
McKinney could not be reached for comment.
He is Lee County’s only incumbent supervisor to have lost his seat for the upcoming term, which begins in January. Bobby Smith of District 2 beat his sole challenger in the GOP primary earlier this month. Democrat Tommie Lee Ivy of District 4 had no opponents.
Two other supervisors still face competition: Republican incumbents Phil Morgan of District 1 and Darrell Rankin of District 3 will battle Democratic hopefuls in the Nov. 8 general election. Morgan faces first-time candidate Kevin “Scott” Russell Hurt, and Rankin will meet his former political foe Larry McCord.
More than 10,000 voters cast ballots in Lee County during Tuesday’s runoff elections, which included races for governor, state treasurer, state representative, county supervisor and county constable.
On the local level, District 1 Constable Scotty Clark won the Republican nomination against challenger Joe Huckaby. Clark will face Democrat Mark Ratliff in the general election.