Covington, Harper in runoff
FRIENDLY RIVALS Lauderdale County District 1 supervisor candidates Eddie Harper, right, and Sidney Covington hug each another Tuesday night upon learning they will advance to an Aug. 26 Republican runoff. The winner will become the new District 1 supervisor. Photo by Paula Merritt/The Meridian Star
By Steve Gillespie / staff writer
Aug. 6, 2003
For there to be so many opponents side-by-side, the atmosphere at the Howard Johnson motel was extraordinarily friendly Tuesday night.
It was hot, too. Drinks were iced down and anxiety ran high among Lauderdale County candidates when primary election results started coming into the party rooms they reserved around the motel's indoor swimming pool.
In the Lauderdale County District 1 Supervisor's race, which pitted five Republican candidates against each other, Sidney Covington and Eddie Harper came out as the top two vote-getters. They now face off in an Aug. 26 runoff.
The winner will take office in January because there are no Democratic or independent candidates for the post.
While waiting for the results, Covington and Harper acted more like running mates than opponents. Covington called Harper to give him results. Harper visited with her and her supporters in her room. They compared figures and simultaneously found out that they will be opponents again in three weeks.
He has to do it all over again.
Covington finished the race with an unofficial total of 1,315 votes, or 36 percent, to Harper's 923 votes, or 25 percent.
A total of 3,693 votes were cast in the District 1 Supervisor's Republican primary race, or about 44 percent of the district's 8,541 registered voters.
Neither Harper nor Covington seemed surprised to be in the runoff and each praised the other and pledged to remain friends as they set out in the next round of competition.
Covington celebrated Tuesday night by throwing pink, bubble gum cigars with "It's A Girl" written on the packaging to her supporters when it was obvious she was in the runoff.
Covington said she focused on her race only during the primary campaign and met as many people one-on-one, as she could. She said she will spend the next three weeks utilizing more volunteers to help her meet voters in the district again.
For the three candidates who raked in the other 39 percent of the District 1 Republican primary votes there were no regrets.
David Pritchett, who tallied 676 votes, or 18 percent, said the only thing he can think of that he might have done differently in his campaign was spend more advertising dollars to get his message out.
He added that things might have turned out differently had there been debates scheduled among the candidates.
Pritchett said he plans to be more involved in public service, however.
Bill McBride, who finished with 465 votes, or 13 percent, said Tuesday night that he congratulates each of the District 1 candidates.
Both McBride and Pritchett said they have no intentions of endorsing either Covington or Harper in the runoff. Jerry Marlow, who captured 314 votes, or 8 percent of the vote, was unavailable for comment after the results came in. He personally congratulated Covington, Harper and other successful candidates at their campaign celebrations at the motel.
BY THE NUMBERS
Here are complete but unofficial returns for the Lauderdale County District 1 supervisor's election. Sidney Covington and Eddie Harper advanced to an Aug. 26 runoff.
Sidney S. Covington 1,315
Eddie D. Harper 923
David Pritchett 676
Billye Wayne "Bill" McBride 465
Jerry P. Marlow 314