This year’s presidential primary did not bring many voters to Winston County polls or polls across the state.
As folks headed to cast their ballots last Tuesday traffic was likely light because this past week was spring break in area schools; good for the students but bad for voter turnout. With families squeezing in a vacation with their kids on break, many residents were out of town and failed to vote. Absentee ballots were low as well.
In Winston County, 22.44 percent of voters turned out for the primary. Of the 13,241 registered voters in the county 2971 casts a vote in the primary. Most of the votes were cast in the highly contested Republican races with 1988 votes cast in that primary and 983 cast in the Democratic primary.
With Winston Countians voting for the first time in the First Congressional District, a majority of voters helped first-term U.S. Rep. Alan Nunnelee of Tupelo, continue his campaign for reelection. Nunnelee defeated Henry Ross of Eupora and Robert Estes of Southaven. Nunnelee received 67.55 percent (1303 votes) of the county’s vote with Ross trailing with 25.14 percent (485 votes) and Estes receiving 7.21 percent (139) votes. Statewide in the First District Nunnelee received 56 percent of the vote.
Nunnelee first won election in 2010, defeating one-term Democratic incumbent Travis Childers. Before that, he served 17 years in the state Senate.
In the general election, Nunnelee will face Democrat Brad Morris of Oxford who had no opponent in the Democrat Primary, Libertarian Danny Bedwell of Columbus, Reform Party member Chris Potts and Constitution Party member Jim Bourland.
Also, U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, a Tupelo Republican, breezed to victory in Winston County and across the state.
Wicker garnered 93.73 percent (1825 votes) in Winston County with Robert Maloney and E. Allen Hathcock gaining 3.60 percent (70 votes) and 2.67 percent (52 votes) respectively.
Wicker will face in November Albert N. Gore Jr. of Starkville, who won a three-way Democratic primary against Will Oatis of Silver Creek and Roger Weiner of Clarksdale. Gore also won Winston County with 71.49 percent of the democrat vote (632 votes). Weiner had 150 votes (16.97 percent) and Oatis had 97 votes (10.97 percent).
Also on November’s Senate general election ballot are Thomas Cramer of the Constitution Party and Shawn O’Hara of the Reform Party.
Statewide, Wicker, 60, got 89 percent of votes cast. Wicker is seeking election for his first full six-year term. Gore, of Starkville, is the head of the Oktibbeha County Democratic Party and is a long-time activist in Democratic efforts. He got 56 percent of the Democratic vote in the statewide primary results.
Although Winston Countians no longer vote in the Third Congressional district and that seat will no longer represent the county after Jan. 2013, U.S. Rep. Gregg Harper of Pearl defeated Republican challenger Robert J. Allen, a Starkville tea party activist.
Harper, 55, will seek a third term in the House in November against Democrat Crystal Biggs of Florence and Reform Party member John “Luke” Pannell.
In the Republican Presidential race, Winston Countians voted fairly similar to the rest of the state. Rick Santorum carried 34.19 percent (676 votes) followed by Newt Gingrich with 664 votes (33.59 percent), Mitt Romney with 577 votes (29.19 percent), Ron Paul 49 votes (2.48 percent), Gary Johnson 4 votes (.20 percent) and Rick Perry 4 votes (.2 percent).
Statewide, Santorum received 33 percent of the vote, compared to former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich who garnered 31 percent and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney who equaled that number. Texas Congressman Ron Paul received 4 percent of the vote.
In the delegate count, Santorum will receive 13 delegates with Gingrich and Romney each nabbing 12 delegates in Mississippi’s delegate count.
It takes 1,144 delegates to win the GOP presidential nomination, and Romney remains well in the lead with 495 delegates, followed by Santorum with 252, Gingrich with 131 and Ron Paul with 48. Remaining in play are 1,358 delegates.
The process could be played out all the way to the Republican National Convention on Aug. 27 in Tampa Bay, Fla.
The winner of the Republican Presidential race will face President Barack Obama in the November 6 election.
Those interested in registering to vote for the November election should contact the Winston County Circuit Clerk’s office at (662) 773-3581.