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Several Republicans Win Countywide Office in Lowndes

Ron Williams

Eight years ago, Coroner Greg Merchant and Lowndes County School Superintendent Mike Halford became the first Republicans to capture county-wide office. Tuesday, they were joined by Sheriff-elect Mike Arledge, County Prosecutor-elect Allison Pritchard Kizer and the next superintendent, Lynn Wright (Halford did not seek re-election).

This photo, shot Tuesday night after the election results were in, shows retiring Sheriff Butch Howard with Sheriff-elect Mike Arledge. Arledge easily defeated Democrat opponent Anthony Nelson. Howard was sheriff for 12 years and chief deputy for three terms under Ed Prescott prior to that.

Arledge gave up the District 2 Justice Court Judge seat to make a run for sheriff. That seat was won back by Ron Cooke Tuesday. Cooke had held the judge’s position for nearly two terms before attempting a run for sheriff in 2003. Arledge then held the seat for two terms as well. Tuesday, Arledge disposed of Democrat opponent Anthony Nelson.
Arledge, his wife Patty and daughter Kim by his side, was visibly wore out after hosting an election party at The Holiday Inn Tuesday evening. Months of a long campaign showed on his obviously-tired face. But he was courteous and ever-smiling through it all.

Judges Reunited! Longtime Justice Court Judge Peggy Phillips was reunited at Justice Court with Ron Cooke, Tuesday after Cooke defeated challenger Ted Richards to recapture the seat he gave up in 2003 to run for sheriff.

The event attracted hundreds of supporters and well-wishers, including Judge-elect Cooke and his wife, Gail. At his side, also, were many of the members of the current administration of the sheriff’s department. (I’m sure feeling vindicated after witnessing a tacky, ill-advised ad run in last weeks Packet asking the county voters to “wake up. We DO NOT need more of the same administration”. Though I feel the Packet deserves no criticism for running the ad, my beef was that the person or persons who bought the ad should have been brave enough to sign their name to their opinion…just as I do week after week in this publication. I’ll expand more on this in my column. RW). Arledge’s campaign manager, Liza Salley Shannon, was also at the event and thrilled that it was over and her candidate was victorious.

In other races:
Lynn Wright more than doubled his two opponents vote totals in becoming the next Lowndes County school superintendent.
Independent (incumbent) Mahala ‘Haley’ Salazar won easily over Republican political newcomer Justin Shelton to keep her longtime position as circuit clerk. Shelton said he has no regrets. “I stood up and I was counted. I did what I felt (in running) I needed to do. I felt Lowndes County needed new leadership and a new vision. Haley holds a high-profile office and had name recognition and experience on me. I felt I did pretty good as a political newcomer. I really enjoyed getting out and meeting new people throughout the county…I had fun.”
Shelton, only 37 years old, didn’t count out a future run for political office.
Incumbent Chancery Clerk Lisa Younger Neese, as expected, pounded her Republican challenger Susan Robinson. This will be Neese’s third term.
District Attorney Forrest Allgood, the Democrat incumbent, retained his office as well by defeating another Republican political newcomer in Steve Wallace.
One other Republican political newcomer fared much better. Allison Pritchard Kizer was running for the open county prosecutor seat (due to Tim Hudson not seeking re-election) and she defeated Democrat Chuck Easley.
District 1 incumbent Republican Harry Sanders also kept his office by defeating two opponents in independent Joey Pounders and Democrat Willie Petty.
District 3 incumbent Republican John Holliman also recorded a lop-sided win in defeating independent Mike Smith.
District 5 Democrat incumbent Leroy Brooks toppled Independent challenger Roger Larsen, though Larsen’s numbers were impressive for his first run for political office.
The District 2 Justice Court judge seat was recaptured by former judge, Ron Cooke, Tuesday. Cooke easily defeated independent challenger Ted Richards.
District 1 Constable Willie ‘Hoot’ West beat back a bid by Republican Wayne Crowson to recapture the position he’s had since the 60’s.
District 2 Supervisor-elect Bill Brigham won his seat during the primary, as did District 4 Democrat incumbent Jeff Smith. District 3 Justice Court Judge Peggy Phillips had also won during the primary, as did District 2 Constable Joe Ables.
Tax Assessor/Collector Greg Andrews, County Coroner Greg Merchant, District 1 Justice Court Judge Chris Hemphill and District 3 Constable Willie ‘Sonny’ Sanders all ran unopposed.

Political Ad Designed To Hurt Mike Arledge Backfires

A last minute political ad apparently designed to hurt Mike Arledge’s chances of becoming Lowndes County’s next sheriff also backfired. The ad ran as a half-page ad in the last Packet and used the photo taken with much of the current administration in previous ads Arledge ran in The Packet. The ill-advised, tacky ad asked the voters of Lowndes County to, “Wake Up” and further shouted, “We DO NOT need more of the same administration” (in the future of the sheriff’s department).
I don’t have a problem with people running ads like this…even though it’s tacky. But I felt they should have been required to ‘sign’ it or include a ‘paid for by’ with it. Packet Editor Colin Krieger said that after checking with the Mississippi Press Association (MPA), however, they didn’t feel it was a political ad because it didn’t include the candidate’s name or a political party reference. (As far as anyone getting mad at The Packet for running the ad, Krieger also made a good point in saying , “That would be like someone getting mad at WCBI for running an attack ad.” RW). Again, though, although apparently legal…I still would like to know where that ‘opinion’ originate’s. I sign my name to my opinion’s in this publication weekly. Why can’t others do the same?
It appears that voters sent the anonymous ad-purchaser a message in Arledge’s blowout victory…Lowndes County voters were never asleep to start with.

Ron Williams can be reached by email at Ronsings2you@aol.com

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1 comment

  1. there was an article on Joe’s blog http://www.realstorypublishing.com about the ‘wake up’ ad. even tho’ he didn’t call any names either, I bet him a cup of coffee that it was about the sheriff’s race. take note, these last minute ads are having very little impact on swaying voters. ads like that should have been run before the primary, and not the run-off’s. them springing the ‘initiatives’ at the last minute saw a lot of no’s also, just for that reason. it was initiative 26 that brought the voters out.

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