JONES COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - A runoff in the Jones County Circuit Court Judge race was definitely expected, said the candidates.
"All these people are well known and had friends and support so yes I did," said incumbent Judge Billy Joe Landrum.
"Four good candidates in the race, I'll be honest, I pretty well anticipated a runoff," said candidate Dal Williamson.
Voting results showed challenger Dal Williamson ahead of incumbent Judge Billy Joe Landrum by more than 2,000 votes.
"Very, very happy," said Williamson. "Very pleased with the vote that we received, we we're humbled by it, we're thankful for it."
"I got a good vote but you know Mr. Williamson got a better vote, but it's a reset now," said Judge Landrum.
Judge Landrum said he's the best candidate because he's been in the courtroom for 40 years and has the experience.
"Mr. Williamson has never been in this courtroom before," said Judge Landrum. "He's never been to a drug court meeting, he's never been out on the detail with the community service people and I have."
"My office compiled a list of all the cases that I've had before the circuit court in Laurel and there are lots of them I don't know why Judge Landrum doesn't remember them," said Williamson.
Williamson said by law he hasn't been allowed to handle criminal cases.
"For the last 12 years I haven't been able to practice criminal law because my partner is a prosecutor," said Williamson. "Just let me say this though, if I couldn't run the criminal court in Jones County, I wouldn't have run for this office."
"I ask the people to look at what we've done and what I've done and not what everybody else says they can do, show me the beef," said Judge Landrum.
While Judge Landrum said he has the experience and the name recognition, Williamson said he has the character and the work ethic.
"Circuit judge position is a full time position you're being paid by the tax payers to come to work every day," said Williamson. "The system moves along better when the judges work every day."
Though one thing the candidates have in common, they both agree that there's a lot of work to do before November 25.
"We're rolling up our sleeves and going right back to what we've been doing for the last six months," said Williamson.
"I'll be out there shaking hands and waving and doing whatever is necessary to get their attention," said Judge Landrum.
The runoff is scheduled the same week of Thanksgiving. Candidates ask residents to vote absentee if they will not be in town that week.