One legislative race decided Tuesday, two others head to runoff

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Kayleigh Skinner, Mississippi Today

The Mississippi state Capitol

A Starkville resident was elected to the state House of Representatives Tuesday, and a runoff election later this month will decide two other vacant legislative seats.

Here’s a rundown of the three legislative races on Election Day:

House District 38 — Oktibbeha, Clay, Lowndes counties

Starkville resident Cheikh Taylor defeated two opponents for the House District 38 seat on Tuesday. Taylor, who garnered 2,575 votes, or 60 percent, defeated challengers Narissa Bradford and Lisa Wynn.

Taylor, a Democrat, will fill the seat left vacant earlier this year by former Rep. Tyrone Ellis, D-Starkville, who retired.

Oktibbeha County residents also voted against the sale of a county-owned hospital. The final vote for the hospital sale was 5,271 votes against the sale, and 3,819 votes for the sale.

House District 54 — Warren, Issaqueena, Yazoo counties

Two Warren County residents – Kevin Ford and Randy Easterling – will face off in a runoff election on Nov. 28. Ford garnered 923 votes, or 37 percent, while Easterling earned 837 votes, or 33 percent.

The two edged out Joe Bonelli (763 votes, or 30 percent) for the House seat left vacant by Rep. Alex Monsour, R-Vicksburg, who resigned after being elected Vicksburg alderman in June. Both Ford and Easterling are Republicans.

Senate District 10 — Marshall and Tate counties

Two candidates – Neil Whaley of Potts Camp and Sharon Gipson of Holly Springs – will face off in a runoff election on Nov. 28. Whaley garnered 2,236 votes, or 35 percent, while Gipson earned 1,902 votes, or 30 percent.

The two defeated Lennell “Big Luke” Lucas of Holly Springs, Michael Cathey of Senatobia and Ray Minor of Waterford.

The candidates are running to fill the Senate District 10 seat, left vacant by Sen. Bill Stone, D-Holly Springs, who stepped down earlier this year to become manager of a local municipal utility. Stone had recently served as Senate minority leader.

Republicans in both the House and the Senate enjoy three-fifths supermajorities, meaning no Democratic votes are necessary to pass any legislation, including tax and budget bills. Tuesday’s elections will not swing supermajorities in either chamber.

One Senate seat remains vacant. Former Sen. Sean Tindell, R-Gulfport, was appointed to the state Court of Appeals by Gov. Phil Bryant, and Bryant set a special election for that seat on Dec. 19.

The 2018 legislative session will begin Jan. 2 and is scheduled to end on April 1. The newly elected legislators will be sworn in before the legislative session begins.