Runoff set for commission
Published 7:19 pm Monday, June 7, 2004
By By Arthur McLean
With no Republican candidates for school board, county commission or district attorney, the Democratic primary races for those seats proved to be the election in June.
Cereal Daniel looks to be the next Atmore representative on the Escambia County Board of Education, while a run-off appears to be in the futures of William Brown and Junior Hall for the Board of County Commissioners.
Steve Billy pounded his opponent Danny White, raking in nearly triple White's number of votes to become the county's District Attorney. Billy garnered 3,607 votes while White pulled in 1,093 – just a quarter of the total vote count.
Daniel beat his opponents by pulling in slightly more than 50 percent of the vote, garnering 462 votes. Jimmy Dean claimed 239 votes with Randal Barnett pulling in 214 votes.
For Billy, the District Attorney's office will be familiar territory, having served as a prosecutor under the DA for 10 years. He watched the returns come in at the Escambia County Courthouse and received congratulatory hugs from friends and supporters.
"I want to thank my supporters, family and everyone who had a part in this campaign," Billy said. I also want to thank the voters of Escambia County for the confidence they placed in me. I want to thank Danny (White) for running a good, clean hard-fought race. I'm looking forward to serving the residents of Escambia County."
When contacted by the Atmore Advance, Daniel said, "To everyone who helped me and supported me, I just want to say a heartfelt thanks. To both Randal Barnett and Jimmy Dean, I 'd like to thank you for the race you've run. It was a good, clean race and campaign, which I certainly appreciate, and to all of their supporters, just know that I look forward to earning your trust and confidence."
Brown and Hall are expected to meet in a run-off later this month. Br own holds a narrow edge against Hall. Brown took 416 votes while Hall took 367 votes. Joey Kelley is out of the race with 284 votes.
When contacted by the Atmore Advance, Hall at first refused to comment, but later said, "I appreciate all the support, and for all the support in the runoff." Meanwhile, Brown said "Well, we are just tickled to death to be in the run-off, and we are going to try our hardest to win."
Despite heavy rains dampening turnout, Wayne Butts, custodian of voting machines for Escambia County, said voting went well, and there were no problems with the paper ballot scanning machines at the polling places around the county.
Flooding at Pineview briefly interrupted the voting, but Butts said crews were able to clear the roadway and voting resumed. "It's a better turnout than I thought we would have, considering the weather and the primary being the day afte r a holiday," Butts said.
Early returns from Brewton began filing into the Probate Judge's office at the Escambia County Courthouse around 7:45 p.m., with the last ballot boxes arriving from the Atmore area about 9 p.m.
Throughout the night, the beeping of SouthernLink and other push-to-talk phones could be heard amid the drumming of copy machines and laser printers as requests for vote tallies were fielded by observers and supporters in the records vault.
In all, 5,212 votes were cast throughout the county, and voters made their choices on Republican and Democratic primary races for both statewide and national offices.
Absentee and provisional ballots will be counted at a later date, but are not expected to significantly change the vote totals. Results are expected to be certified next week.
Look in future issues of the Atmore Advance for continuing political coverage of the county commission runoff and other local races.