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Justin Cobb rolls in county attorney's race
Incumbents Hayes, Slay re-elected

By Staff
REPUBLICAN WINNER Justin Cobb, candidate for county attorney, watches primary returns Tuesday night at the Howard Johnson Motor Lodge. Cobb defeated Andy Davis in the Republican primary and will face Democrat Gary Jones and Independent Charlie Smith in the Nov. 4 general election. Photo by Paula Merritt/The Meridian Star
By Fredie Carmichael / staff writer
Aug. 6, 2003
Justin Cobb stood silently in a crowded motel room with his fingers pressed against his mouth as beads of sweat formed on his forehead.
Room 416 at Howard Johnson's was packed with supporters and family members as the first-time candidate's eyes were fixed on the television, nervously watching as returns from Tuesday's primary popped up on the screen.
Minutes later, Cobb, a 28-year-old attorney who faced Andy Davis, 33, in Tuesday's Republican primary for Lauderdale County Attorney, stood near the motel pool and squeezed water from his red tie after his friends threw him in for a congratulatory swim.
Cobb received 7,118, or 61.3 percent of the votes, to Davis' 4,467, or 38.5 percent. He will now face Democrat Gary B. Jones and independent Charlie Smith in the Nov. 4 general election.
The Cobb-Davis race was one of the hottest races in the Lauderdale County, featuring two young attorneys running a friendly race marked by some media advertising but mostly by yard signs on Meridian and Lauderdale County lawns.
Awaiting results
Cobb and Davis were two of many candidates who rented rooms near the pool at Howard Johnson's to await election results.
The Cobb and Davis rooms housed the most supporters of any candidates as people squeezed in and out of the two rooms, located across the pool from each other.
Davis and his wife, Tracy, walked hand-in-hand down a dimly lit hallway to congratulate Cobb at about 9 p.m.
Others with pool side rooms included Lauderdale County Tax Assessor Jimmy Slay, who won a second term by defeating challenger Linda B. Fortenberry in the Republican primary, and Wallace Heggie, who lost to Republican incumbent Ann Wilson Hayes.
Both Slay and Hayes will automatically win their races because they face no challengers in the Nov. 4 general election.
Slay's room remained quiet most of the night as he and Fortenberry stood neck-to-neck in what turned out to be one of the county's closest races.
After the votes were counted, Slay perked up.
Chancery Clerk's race
Hayes watched the results from her home before driving to Howard Johnson's to thank Heggie for running a good race. Hayes received 7,809 votes, or 66.5 percent, to Heggie's 3,920 votes, or 33.4 percent.
Across the pool from Hayes, Cobb hugged supporters and continued to dry off. He still couldn't believe his friends threw him in the pool.
Cobb said he's now turning his focus on the Nov. 4 general election.
Cobb also said he wishes the best for Davis.