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Norwood, Harris face runoff in District 4 race

By By Lynette Wilson / staff writer
Nov. 6, 2002
The first of 53 brown, padlocked, plastic boxes was carried into the Lauderdale County Circuit Clerk's office and tallied 27 minutes after the polls closed Tuesday.
Just two hours later, when all of the boxes had been delivered and complete but unofficial returns were in, two candidates were still standing in the special election for Lauderdale County District 4 supervisor.
Television cameraman Joe Norwood, who led the race with 1,085 votes about 45 percent will face District 4 county patrolman Rickey Harris, who received 652 votes, in a runoff on Nov. 19
Two other candidates ran far behind. John Nelson Jr. received 387 votes and Melvin Wright 252.
Harris said Tuesday night that he would call the media when he is ready to comment.
Norwood said he will be out today knocking on doors in the precincts that he lost to Harris. Norwood also said he will appeal to Wright's and Nelson's supporters.
The candidates competed in a special election to fill the unexpired term of the late Q.V. Sykes, who died while serving his second term as supervisor in July. The winner of the race also faces a general election next year.
Sykes' wife, Laura, was appointed to the seat and will serve until a successor is elected.
Lauderdale County Circuit Clerk Donna Jill Johnson said since no candidate received a majority of the vote, Harris and Norwood will meet in again in two weeks.
School board race
In the race for the District 5 Lauderdale County School Board seat, Samantha Stewart Boutwell defeated Tommie Jean Avera 906 to 859, or 51 to 49 percent.
Boutwell is the chief deputy clerk at the Circuit Clerk's office. She said as a junior member of the school board, she will take it "one step at a time."
School board members serve a six-year term.
The District 5 school board seat opened when Jimmy Gibson, then school board president, resigned in June.
Four other candidates on the Lauderdale County ballot Circuit Court judges Robert W. Bailey and Larry E. Roberts, and Chancery Court judges Jerry G. Mason and Sarah P. Springer were reelected without opposition.
Center of attention
The Circuit Clerk's office buzzed with election officials and onlookers interested in up-to-the-minute results on the 3rd District Court of Appeals race between Kenny Griffis and Jim Brantley, and the face-off between U.S. Reps. Chip Pickering and Ronnie Shows in a re-drawn 3rd Congressional District.
Kris Gianakos, chairman of the Lauderdale County Republican Party, said he was pleased with the positive nod Pickering received and hoped Lauderdale County would push a lot of numbers for him.
Gianakos said the Republican party put in place a 72-hour-program to spread the word to get out and vote nationally.
Meridian City Councilman Mary Perry, vice chairman of the Lauderdale County Democratic Executive Committee said she came out in support of Shows.