PINE BELT (WDAM) - On Tuesday, Mississippians held their focus on Jackson as voters from across the state went to the polls to cast their ballots in the 2019 general elections.
While most of the state was watching results come out of the capital city that night, sheriffs’ races dominated the headlines here in the Pine Belt.
Three counties in WDAM’s eight-county viewing area elected new sheriffs, who will take over their respective departments in January.
In Forrest County, Charlie Sims will be the first new sheriff in town in more than 20 years after longtime incumbent Billy McGee decided not to run for reelection. After winning the Republican nomination in a tight primary race, Sims defeated Independent candidates Kenny Johnson and Jerry Oswalt in the general election.
The shakeup at the top of the Jones County Sheriff’s Office started in August when Macon P. Davis defeated three-term incumbent Alex Hodge in a runoff for the Republican nomination. Despite the primary victory, Davis was beaten by Independent Joe Berlin in the general election. Berlin won 54% of the vote.
In Covington County, the 2019 sheriff’s race was up in the air after Sheriff Stann Smith announced his decision to retire. Republican Darrell “Perk” Perkins and Democrat Jonathan Anderson emerged victorious from crowded primary fields. Perkins would eventually win the race for sheriff by capturing 60% of the general election vote.
In Perry, Lamar, Marion and Wayne counties, incumbent sheriffs’ candidates won easy victories over their opponents.
Perry County Sheriff Mitch Nobles won 70% of the vote over challenger Jeremy McSwain. Lamar County Sheriff Danny Rigel defeated Michael Rogowski by an even wider margin by winning 80% of the vote.
In Marion County, incumbent Berkely Hall finished the night with 61% of the vote over Adrian Fortenberry. In Wayne County, incumbent Jody Ashley was reelected with 60% of the vote over Johnel Rogers.
Jasper County Sheriff Randy Johnson likely had the most stress-free night of all. Johnson was unopposed in the general election after winning the Democratic primary over the man he ousted from the sheriff’s seat in 2015, Chris “Sarge” Sargent.
The new sheriffs’ terms will begin in January 2020.