By Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – District 5 Lee County Supervisor Joe McKinney will fight for a second term Tuesday against political challenger Billy Joe Holland.
The Democrats enter a runoff election next week after neither grabbed a majority of the votes in the Aug. 2 primary. Holland took 39.5 percent to lead the field, while incumbent McKinney earned 38.2 percent.
A third candidate, Ken Dye, took 22.3 percent of the votes and now is out of the race.
Whoever wins Tuesday will take the seat; there are no Republican, independent or third-party candidates to face in the general election.
“I led the ticket, so I’m getting out there presenting my case,” said Holland, a 59-year-old assistant road manager for Lee County and a resident of the Palmetto community.
“But looking back on history, you don’t get near the turnout as the first election,” he said. “That’s going to be key, getting people to vote.”
According to the Lee County Circuit Clerk’s office, 1,982 people voted in the District 5 Democratic primary. Typically, runoffs draw less than half the number of voters as the elections that preceded them, a clerk there stated.
District 5 residents who voted in the Democratic primary can cast ballots in the runoff race between Holland and McKinney. Those who had voted in the Republican primary earlier this month cannot participate in the Democratic runoff.
Residents who didn’t vote in either primary can take part Tuesday.
McKinney, who is finishing his first term on the Board of Supervisors, said he’s going door to door drumming up support. He also held a picnic in Plantersville last weekend and will hold another one today in Shannon.
“It’s hard to see everybody in a district this big, but hopefully people will look at their choices, consider what the job is and I’ll be able to get their support,” McKinney said. “I honestly feel like I’m the best qualified for the job.”
The 48-year-old Verona resident serves as this year’s board president, a position that’s rotated annually. He said it’s a time-consuming role that requires more knowledge than just road maintenance – a subtle dig at his opponent, who works for the Road Department.
Holland had a dig of his own, saying McKinney has failed to keep up the roads in District 5 and that his constituents deserve better.
“He talks about how much less money he spent, and it shows,” Holland said. “You ride the roads – they’re all growed up, the grass is 10 feet tall. I don’t think he’s the man for the job.”
McKinney said he’s not overly worried: “I feel like I have a good chance to be re-elected.”
About the Races
DISTRICT 1: General election – Republican Phil Morgan (i) versus Democrat Kevin “Scott” Russell Hurt
DISTRICT 2: Decided – Incumbent Bobby Smith won the seat
DISTRICT 3: General election – Republican Darrell Rankin (i) versus Democrat Larry McCord
DISTRICT 4: Decided – Incumbent Tommie Lee Ivy faced no challengers and takes the seat
DISTRICT 5: Democratic runoff – Billy Joe Holland versus Joe McKinney (i). The winner takes the seat.