From staff reports

With 20 of 25 precincts reporting, a clearer picture is starting to emerge in Pike County’s contested races.

Candidates need at least 50 percent plus one vote in order to avoid an Aug. 27 runoff.

In the Republican primary for sheriff, Tim Vanderslice and James Brumfield are running neck and neck, with Vanderslice leading with 1,746 votes (41 percent) and Brumfield slightly trailing with 1,722 (41 percent). Rodney Nordstrom has 714 (17 percent) of the vote and D.C. Corson has 43 votes and 1 percent of the take.

Incumbent Democratic Sheriff Kenny Cotton was leading his primary with 89 percent of the vote, according to unofficial returns.

Also in the Republican primary, incumbent Circuit Clerk Roger Graves has a commanding lead over his deputy, Gina Mitchell. 2,999 (71 percent) to 1,212 (29 percent).

In the Democratic primary for tax assessor, Angela Simmons was leading Renada Jenkins Taylor Cain 1,929 (60 percent) to 1,284 (40 percent), with the winner facing Republican incumbent Laurie Allen in the November general election.

In the coroner’s race, David Rashad Taylor is so far managing to avoid a runoff as he is leading with 2,091 votes (64 percent) to Willie King’s 864 (26 percent) and R. Tucker Bolian’s 334.

Meanwhile in legislative races, Democratic incumbent District 38 Sen. Tammy Witherspoon is fending off a challenge from former Sen. Kelvin Butler. She is leading with 1,385 votes (56 percent) to Butler’s 1,071 (44 percent). Witherspoon also carried Walthall County. Information from Adams, Amite and Wilkinson counties wasn’t immediately available. The primary winner will claim the seat since there are no other candidates.

In the Senate District 37 Republican primary, Melanie Sojourner, who held the seat from 2012-2015, had a strong lead with 1,191 votes (46 percent) to Kevin B. Wells’ 510 (20 percent), Morgan Halford Poore’s 446 and Milt Burris’ 456. The winner will face Democrat William Godfrey of Natchez in a bid to replace longtime Sen. Bob Dearing. Results from other counties weren’t immediately available.

In House District 98, Daryl Porter Jr. was leading Tasha Dillon 1,187 (56 percent) to 946 (44 percent) in Pike County. Dillon carried Walthall County 273 (57 percent) to 205 (43 percent).

In contested supervisor races, District 1 incumbent Tazwell Bowsky was leading the Democratic primary with 348 votes (46 percent), while Tracey E. Felder had 253 (34 percent), Charles Burris had 99 and Roger Nick had 51. The primary winner will claim the seat.

In District 2, incumbent Faye Lowery Hodges was leading the deciding Democratic primary with 248 votes (36 percent), while Samuel Hall had 209 (30 percent), Lucy Darlene Tobias had 188 and S. Martin Patterson had 53.

Robert Accardo and Etta Baptiste Taplin were leading their respective primaries in the District 3 race.

In District 4, Jake Gazzo was leading the deciding Republican primary with 753 votes (41 percent,) while Marlin Bass had 520 (28 percent), Tommy McKenzie had 299, Janie Wells had 167 Greg L. Ballew had 53 and Val Deer had 36.

In the District 5 Democratic primary, Eddie Simmons was leading with 485 votes (58 percent) — enough so far to avoid a runoff — to Thaxter 'Pitt' Pittman’s 211 (25 percent), C. J. Upchurch’s 79 and Fred Klunk’s 51. the winner will face Republican Lee Fortenberry in November.

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