The Hinds County Circuit Court will see two new judges in January, with election runoff winners Faye Peterson and Adrienne Wooten joining the bench. Three of the county’s four judges will have something in common–and I’m not talking about being African-American women.
Peterson, Wooten and Circuit Judge Tomie Green all held elected office before winning judicial elections. It also applied to Judge Jeff Weill when he won his seat that Wooten is filling.
Voters were familiar with their names. Many had voted for them in prior elections. Even those who didn’t were likely to recognize their names on the ballot. It’s a huge advantage.
In other races, David McCarty defeated Judge Weill in a Court of Appeals race. That result suggests that local name recognition can be overcome in an election covering a large geographic area. I doubt many people in Pike County were familiar with Judge Weill. Word on the street is McCarty campaigned harder.
In the other Court of Appeals runoff, well-known Deborah McDonald defeated Eric Hawkins.
Tiffany Grove won the runoff against Monique Brown-Barrett for Hinds County District 4 chancery judge. In a multi-level stupid move, Governor Bryant had endorsed Brown-Barrett before the general election when there were 4-5 candidates. It was not enough to overcome Grove’s hard work campaigning and popularity among the Bar.
In Madison-Rankin elections, Dewey Arthur won the circuit judge runoff over Andy Stewart and Troy Odom defeated Mel Coxwell for chancery judge.
On the Coast, Youth Court Judge Margaret Alfonso unseated incumbent Judge Sandy Steckler by 600 votes in a Harrison/ Hancock/ Stone chancery race. Judge Alfonso was a chancellor before running for youth court judge and has held elected office longer than Steckler.
Attention now turns to who will Governor Bryant appoint to fill Chief Justice Bill Waller’s seat on the Mississippi Supreme Court? Early speculation has been on Court of Appeals Judges Kenny Griffis and
Dave Jack Wilson.
The rumor mill dark horse is state treasurer Lynn Fitch.