Depending on the November general election here in Hancock County we may end up with a completely new Board of Supervisors but at the minimum four of the five Supervisors will be new now that Sup Tony Wayne Ladner was eliminated in yesterday’s runoff election. Meantime in Harrison County there is a new Sheriff in town to go with three new County Supervisors and Superintendent of Education.
We also had runoff elections in Jackson County with two County Sups in runoffs. Before I link Anita I’d like to revisit what was the prevailing thoughts on the primary elections dating to late July and the confab between elements of the media including Slabbed and the SRHS retirees. While there was no candidate promotion at that meeting a very frank discussion was held about all the candidates for the County Board of Supervisors as well as what people thought was their best guess at board turnover, such speculation also periodically appearing here on Slabbed in comments. Everyone pretty much agreed there would be no more than three seats change with two seats being the more likely number. No one saw what would come on August 4th, with two Sups losing outright and two more being forced into runoffs, especially given the overall low voter turnout raising the possibility of four new Supervisors. For those wanting change the Primary election exceeded expectations. After the runoff elections my mathematically oriented mind immediately thought of mean reversion to make sense of last night’s results:
I thought Sabrina Smith had Barry Cumbest on the ropes and he surprised us with a strong finish. Political newcomer Sabrina Smith ran a spirited, grass roots campaign against an incumbent Supervisor that comes from a large Jackson County’s family that has been around for hundreds of years and took him to the wire. She should be proud of the campaign she ran and to borrow and slightly change a football phrase she left it all on the campaign trail. Kudos to Ms. Smith.
Troy Ross advancing to the general election did not surprise me, especially since I was aware that he had the significant support among the SRHS retirees. You see folks people are motivated to vote for a number of reasons many of which are noble but mostly people vote their wallets. I disclosed the reason Sup Ross would win before the election here, specifically:
Ross supporters point to the fact he is a less divisive personality than Brodnax and that Ross will be able to more capably work with the new board to fix the myriad of problems the county faces.
Slabbed has had the privilege to report on this incredible story that involves the intersection of a major scandal with the fields of auditing, finance and the law, in the SRHS meltdown. Even more significant is the political component in a group of people that cast aside personal differences to create a grassroots movement with a unified voice in the SRHS retirees. They have become a political power in Jackson County.
This group of folks and their determination to see justice done included picketing in the cold of winter and the worst of our summertime heat almost nonstop. This has gone on so long that the group has seen a few of its members die and yet more step up to post. I rather suspect these folks, despite the close bonds they have forged with each other, would much rather be inside in the air conditioning that manning a picket line in the 95 plus degree heat.
So think about the runoff from a retiree’s standpoint. This standoff involving the SRHS pension can’t go on forever and at some point everyone is going to have to gather round a table and at a minimum resolve the financial issues surrounding the hospital and the retirement plan so these folks can get some closure and get on with their lives. For the retirees the question wasn’t one of vengeance in the runoff election. It was which candidate in District Four could best work within the new Board of Supervisors to fix the mess at the Hospital.
Tommy Brodnax aggressively courted the retirees and I’m certain he had some support among them. To his credit though Supervisor Ross never stopped trying to engage the retirees and he stepped up those efforts in the runoff campaign making some promises that will cost him his scalp if he does not keep them. Given the enormity of the task that lies ahead when to came time for the voters to decide which candidate they trusted more work within the Board of Sups to fix things, Supervisor Ross won that issue and thus the runoff.
Now we get a lull before the November general election. Randy Bosarge will face independents Allen Williams and Jerry Knight. Troy Ross will square off against Independent David Venus and Democrat Sean Alawine.