Chancery runoff certain as race gets tight for second place

Oktibbeha County Circuit Court Clerk Tony Rook reads off election results Thursday night as affidavit and absentee ballots were processed. (Photo by Ryan Phillips, SDN)

SDN Editor


Overall unofficial results as of Friday morning, with affidavits still not included from Chicksaw and Webster County

Chancery Judge District 14-1 Total votes Percantage
Rodney Faver 5,004 28%
*Lee Ann Turner 4,782 26.49%
*Elizabeth Ausbern 4,778 26.47%
Gene Barton 2,749 15%
Todd Bennett 739 4%

*competing for second place in Nov. 27 runoff. 

Starkville Municipal Court Judge Rodney Faver will be on the runoff ballot for Chancery Court Judge District 14-1 on Nov. 27, but who he will face has yet to be decided as the final vote totals continue to trickle in following Tuesday’s election. 

More than 1,000 absentee and affidavit ballots were added to the overall total once Oktibbeha County election commissioners finished processing votes Thursday evening, with Faver coming out on top overall with 5,004 as of press time. 

With roughly 60 affidavit ballots left to process in Webster County and eight left in Chickasaw County, the outcomes from those precincts could make the difference in the second place spot for the chancery court judge runoff. 

Competing for that spot on the ballot are lawyer and Oktibbeha County youth court referee Lee Ann Turner, who pulled in 4,782 votes and Houston, Mississippi attorney Elizabeth Fox Ausbern, who received 4,778 votes. 

Okolona attorney Gene Barton will finish fourth with 2,747 votes as of press time Thursday, while R. Todd Bennett filled out the last place spot with 739 votes. 

Election officials in both Chickasaw and Webster counties told the Starkville Daily News that their paper affidavit ballots that were cast by those who did not show a photo ID at the polls have yet to be added to their vote totals, which will likely be the final determination in who will fill the second-place spot on the Nov. 27 ballot. 

Of Oktibbeha County’s 1,152 absentee ballots, 56 were rejected, while 227 of the county’s 543 paper affidavit ballots were rejected, according to City Court Clerk Tony Rook. 

Rook said 55 percent of the county’s 27,217 registered voters cast ballots, which represents a high-water mark for a county that has seen consistently low turnout in the past. 

“Overall turnout including those who voted on the TSX machine, as well as those who cast absentee and affidavit ballots, totaled 55 percent, that’s a tremendous turnout,” Rook said after the Oktibbeha County votes were processed Thursday night. “To my knowledge, we’ve never had a turnout anywhere close to that.” 


As the final votes are tallied, each of the top three candidates managed to pull out a victory in one of the three counties in Place 1 (Chickasaw, Oktibbeha and Webster). 

Ausbern’s strongest showing came in Chickasaw County, where she won easily with 3,091 votes, compared to Faver’s 149 and Turner’s 481. Barton saw his best performance in Chickasaw County, as well, with 1,930 votes. 

Faver won his home county in Oktibbeha, comfortably edging out Turner’s 3,049 votes with 3,626 to win the county. 

In Webster County, Turner would prove successful by a small margin, with 1,252 votes compared to Faver’s 1,229 and Ausbern’s 821 votes. 

CHICKASAW COUNTY - not including eight affidavit ballots 

Chancery Judge District 14-1 Total votes Percantage
Rodney Faver 149 2.52%
Lee Ann Turner 481 8.12%
Elizabeth Ausbern 3,091 52.20%
Gene Barton 1,930 35.59%
Todd Bennett 265 4.47%

OKTIBBEHA COUNTY - includes absentee and affidavit ballots 

Chancery Judge District 14-1 Total votes Percantage
Rodney Faver 3,626 42.71%
Lee Ann Turner 3,049 35.91%
Elizabeth Ausbern 866 10.20%
Gene Barton 518 6.10%
Todd Bennett 341 4.02%

WEBSTER COUNTY - does not include roughly 60 affidavit ballots that are still being processed. 

Chancery Judge District 14-1 Total votes Percantage
Rodney Faver 1,229 33%
Lee Ann Turner 1,252 33.54%
Elizabeth Ausbern 821 22%
Gene Barton 299 8%
Todd Bennett 133 3%