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Most incumbents hold onto positions; no clear winner in school board races
By Geoff Belcher
Nov 5, 2014, 00:24

There were few big surprises in Hancock County voting during the state-wide general election on Tuesday evening, other than the fact that there were no clear winners in either of the two school board races on local ballots.
In the Hancock School Board District 5 race, Danita Ladner Holladay and B.M. "Ben" Taylor straight-up tied in unofficial polling results Tuesday, earning 575 votes each. That race will likely be decided on Wednesday, Circuit Clerk Karen Ruhr said, when the 72 affidavit ballots are counted.
Ruhr wasn't sure Tuesday how many of those affidavits were from District 5.
In the Bay-Waveland School District race, Mike Bell and incumbent Robinette Lipscomb Lawler will likely face each other in a runoff on Nov. 23.
Bell earned 499 votes, or 40.87 percent; Lawler, 439 votes, or 35.95 percent of ballots cast; and Keith D. Marquar took home 283 votes, or 23.18 percent. Since neither candidate earned 51 percent, the top two must compete in a runoff.
In the Circuit Judge District 02, Place 2 race, former Assistant District Attorney Chris Schmidt and Robert Fant Walker will square off again in a runoff on Nov. 23.
In Hancock County, Schmidt earned 5,328 of the votes cast, or 64.49 percent; Walker earned 1,800 votes, or 21.79 percent; and Myles Sharp placed third, with 1,124 votes, or 13.69 percent.
In Harrison County, however, where Walker is a traffic court judge, the percentages were much closer Schmidt earned a little more than 42 percent of the ballots cast with 18,225 votes to walker's 14,392 and Sharp's 10,465.
"I'm very pleased," Schmidt said Tuesday evening. "It was amazing. Hancock County was really amazing. I'm just speechless at those returns.
"I'd like to think the folks remember me from the good work we did back when I was at the D.A.'s office, and I just hope people turn out on Nov. 23 to put the final stamp on it."
Long-serving Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran and U.S. Rep. Steven Palazzo both sailed to fairly easy victories in their respective re-election bids on Tuesday night, both here in Hancock County and throughout the rest of their districts.
Cochran, a Republican, earned a little more than 72 percent of the votes in Hancock County over Democratic challenger Travis W. Childers and Reform Party candidate Shawn O'Hara. In Hancock, Cochran took home 6,680 votes to Childers' 1,999 and O'Hara's 473.
In the 4th Congressional District, incumbent U.S. Rep. Steven Palazzo earned more than 70 percent of the votes in both Hancock County and district-wide. Overall, Palazzo earned 102,306 votes in a field of six candidates, including Democrat Matt Moore, Independents Cindy Burleson and Ed Reich, Libertarian Joey Robinson and Reform candidate Eli Jackson. The second place finisher was Moore, with 35,285 votes.
In both Chancery Court Judge races on the ballot, the incumbents held on to their positions.
Current Judge Jennifer Schloegel held on against Bay St. Louis attorney C. Stephen Benvenutti in the District 08, Place 2 judge's race, despite the fact that Benvenutti won 54 percent of the vote in Hancock County, with 4,638 votes to Schloegel's 3,848. Overall, however, Schloegel earned 66 percent of the ballots cast with 28,577 votes to Benvenutti's 14,442.
Chancery Court Judge S.R. "Sandy" Steckler also held on to his District 08, Place 3 post, defeating challenger Ronnie Cochran 4,408 to 3,696 in Hancock County; and 21,22 to 17,089 district-wide.
judge Jim Persons was unopposed for his Chancery Court District 08, Place 1 seat; as was Judge Carter Bise for his Chancery Court District 08, Place 4 position on the bench. Also unopposed were Circuit Judge Lisa Dodson in District 02, Place 1; Judge Larry Bourgeois in District 02, Place 3; and Judge Roger T. Clark in District 02, Place 4.


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