In a night characterized by Republican dominance at the polls, one Pike County Democrat broke through the mold to retain his multicounty district position.
Incumbent Democrat DeWitt “Dee” Bates fended off Republican Joey Norton, a lawyer from Brookhaven, to retain his seat as the Mississippi 14th Circuit district attorney. He will begin a fifth term in January.
“I’m greatly appreciative of everyone involved in my campaign,” Bates said. “And to everyone who offered me support along the way.”
Bates won the election, with 14,729 votes (54%) to Norton’s 12,659 (46%). 52.5% of registered voters cast ballots in the district attorney’s race.
Bates, 46, of Summit, a moderate Democrat who’s served as District Attorney since he was elected in 2003, carried Pike County with 63% of the vote. He won Walthall County 2,885 votes to the 1,472 Norton received. Norton performed with strength in Lincoln County, carrying the election there with 6,531 votes to the 3,869 Bates received.
“The District Attorney’s office has been working and it will continue to work,” he said. “If you ever have an issue, please give us a call or come down and see us.”
Bates, a lifelong county resident, said the most significant problem facing our community is crime, and he is the right person to deal with that issue. He said his experience in the the legal realm and as district attorney provided him the necessary experience to continue in his position.
He is a graduate of North Pike High School, Southwest Mississippi Community College, the University of Mississippi and earned an doctor of law degree from the Mississippi College School of Law. Bates is an active member of New Covenant Presbyterian Church in Summit.
He said his experience likely made the difference in the outcome of the election, because the position encompasses more than just work in the courts.
“I think my experience is what mostly made the difference,” Bates said.
He is in charge of managing the departments and all employees of the District Attorney’s office. He said his office is one of the most experienced across the state, which is to his, and the county’s, advantage.
“I also really appreciate all the support I’ve received from my coworkers and from others throughout county offices,” he said.
Bates said since being elected in 2003, he and his staff have prosecuted more than 17,000 individual cases, putting murderers, rapists, burglars, drug dealers and other criminals behind bars.
“I’m thankful that God has allowed me to serve the people of Pike County,” Bates said.