By BRIAN HAWKINS
Mike Tagert will be representing Mississippiâ€™s Northern District on the stateâ€™s Transportation Commission.
In runoff special election Tuesday, Tagert, 40, of Starkville defeated John M.M. Caldwell Sr. of Nesbit by a vote of 21,111 to 18,737, according to final but unofficial results from all 628 precincts in the 33 counties comprising the Northern District.
Results will be certified beginning today.
Reached by phone after results were announced, Tagert, the president of the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterways Council, expressed appreciation for the â€śoverwhelming supportâ€ť shown for his candidacy in the Jan. 11 special election and in Tuesdayâ€™s runoff with Caldwell.
â€śWeâ€™ve had an amazing response from our friends and neighbors. Itâ€™s really been overwhelming,â€ť said Tagert Tuesday night. â€śI would like to sincerely say thank you to our friends and family here in Starkville and Oktibbeha County. We look forward to provide more representation for Oktibbeha County and the entire northern part of the state.â€ť
Tagert wins the Northern District Transportation Commission seat left vacant by the death of Bill Minor of Holly Springs on Nov. 1, 2010.
Upon taking office, Tagert will finish the remainder of Minorâ€™s term, which expires in 2012.
It also makes him the incumbent candidate should he pursue a full term in the 2011 statewide elections to be held later this year.
In Tuesdayâ€™s runoff, Tagert easily carried Oktibbeha County, winning 2,480 votes to 178 cast for Caldwell. Oktibbeha Countyâ€™s results included 157 absentee ballots and 2 affidavit ballots. Local results were certified by the Oktibbeha County Election Commission Tuesday night since few affidavit ballots had to be verified.
Caldwell did carry DeSoto County â€”Â his home county â€” winning 7,081 votes to 573 for Tagert, according to unofficial results there.
Attempts to contact Caldwell for comment on the runoff results were unsuccessful at press time Tuesday night.
When Tagert will formally take office has yet to be announced, but he was ready to get to work.
â€śI am ready to go to work, honestly, and jump in headfirst. There is a learning curve,â€ť Tagert said Tuesday night.
â€śI have to understand the budget process, especially since weâ€™re in the middle of the legislative session. I want to make certain I can play an immediate role in advocating for the people of North Mississippi in the legislative process,â€ť Tagert added.
Tuesdayâ€™s runoff locally took place without any problems, though it is believed that the frequently stormy weather throughout the day may have kept some voters from going to the polls.