28-year-old candidate won’t challenge his defeat by a single vote

September 7th, 2015     General News

With the November general election only two months away, all the dust is still not settled in county races.

The retirement of long-time Third District Union County Supervisor Danny Jordan drew 15 candidates competing for that seat on the county board. Nine Democrats, five Republicans and one Independent were on the August 4 primary ballot, and no candidate from either party received an absolute majority of votes.

Union County Supervisor, Third District

Democrat David Kitchens received 333 votes (26.92%) and Democrat C. J. Bright got 212 (17.14%). Republican Michael Moody received 200 votes (46.3%) on August 4, and Republican David Kent got 93 (21.53%)

Republican Moody, who wasn’t far short of an absolute majority on August 4, actually got fewer votes in the August 25th run-off than he received earlier. However, with 169 votes (69.53%) he easily defeated Kent, who, with 69 votes (28.51%), also got fewer votes in the run-off. Moody is the Republican nominee, hands-down.

It was a different story in the Democratic run-off. Both Kitchens and Bright increased their total votes substantially on August 25. Kitchens upped his total to 477 votes; Bright more than doubled his August 4 numbers, receiving 476 votes — just one vote short of what Kitchens polled.

Thursday, September 3, Bright delivered a signed request for an “examination” of the ballot boxes to Union County Circuit Clerk Phyllis Stanford. Stanford said an “examination” would mean opening the box for each of the four precincts in District Three. The Circuit Clerk said the boxes contain all the physical materials used in the primary run-off, including the paper tapes showing votes totaled from the voting machines and the poll books signed by each voter.

Stanford said, however, that Bright told her he didn’t want her to actually go forward with a formal examination of the boxes until and unless he confirmed the request to her. Candidates have 12 days after the vote is certified to ask for a formal examination of the boxes.

Bright told NAnewsweb.com that he did not expect to ask Stanford to actually move forward with examining the precinct boxes. “I just wanted it on the record,” he said.

When asked if he intended to scold any of his relatives who may have failed to go vote to give him the few votes that would have made him the victor, Bright displayed a candid sense of humor.

“That was my problem,” he said. “I didn’t have enough relatives.”

Bright, who is 28 years old, said his one-vote loss would not kill his interest in public service. “Maybe there will be a place for me to serve sometime in the future,” he said.**

Union County Superintendent of Education

The race for Union County Superintendent of Education brought another unusual twist to county politics.

Roger Browning was unopposed for the Republican nomination for superintendent in the August 4 primary.

Incumbent Democrat County Superintendent Ken Basil received 1,918 votes (46.42%) in the August 4 primary; Democratic challenger Loretta Hartfield got 1,172 votes (28.36%). Thus the Democratic nomination for county superintendent was set for the August 24 primary run-off.

Basil got fewer votes in the run-off than he did on August 4, while Hartfield increased her vote total. But, with 1,747 votes (56.9%) in the run-off, Basil easily defeated Democratic challenger Hartfield, who received 1,326 ballots (42.94%)

Then came another anomaly in this year’s Union County elections:

A few days before Basil won the Democratic nomination in the run-off, it was discovered that the apparent Republican nominee, Roger Browning, did not live in the Union County School District. The non-partisan Union County Election Commission ruled that the fact that Browning does not live in the county school district disqualified him as a candidate to head the county school system.

Union County Republican Chairman Clay Hardy told NAnewsweb.com that the Republican Party cannot take steps to designate a new candidate for county superintendent unless and until Roger Browning formally applies to the State of Mississippi Election Commission to withdraw his name from nomination. Hardy said he could not comment on whether or not Browning had initiated such an application to the State Election Commission.

When asked by NAnewsweb.com whether he had asked the State Election Commission to void his nomination, Browning said, “I am going through a process to try and work things out concerning my candidacy, and cannot comment at this time.”

As we understand what we have learned, it appears that, without further action by Roger Browning and the State Election Commission, there will not be a Republican nominee for Union County School Superintendent on the November ballot.


**[Editor’s note:  It appears that either Democrat Dave Kitchens or Republican Michael Moody will be elected Union County Supervisor for the Third District on November 3rd, and we expect that either of them will serve honestly and competently. C. J. Bright is an intelligent, likeable and honorable 28-year-old man, highly regarded by those know him well. It’s good to know that younger people of his caliber will be available to serve in the future.]

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