By STEVEN NALLEY
Incumbent Jim Mills has won the race for Oktibbeha County District 3 justice court judge without need for a runoff, Oktibbeha County Circuit Clerk Angie McGinnis said Friday.
McGinnis also released the final report for Oktibbeha County elections, which showed Mills, a Democrat, with 1237 votes or 49.60 percent, Republican Buddy Johnston with 988 votes or 39.62 percent and Independent Randall McClelland with 268 votes or 10.75 percent.
Based on similar numbers from unofficial results, McGinnis said Thursday she expected the District 3 justice court judge race to the conditions for a runoff. She said county races can proceed to runoffs when the leader does not have 50 percent of votes plus one vote. However, she said the runoff would not be official until the Statewide Election Management System approved Oktibbeha County’s results.
When that approval came on Friday, McGinnis said, she discovered justice court judges are not included in the Mississippi Code’s Non-Partisan Judical Election Act like circuit and chancery judges are. Only offices covered under the Non-Partisan Judicial Election Act require 50 percent of votes plus one, she said, and without it, the candidate with the most votes wins.
“This means that Jim Mills will retain his justice court seat without a run-off,” McGinnis said. “I apologize for any confusion this may have caused but both the election commission and me needed to be certain about this procedure before a final announcement was made.”