Tight Runoff for Sheriff

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In what election officials in Kemper County called a "nip and tuck" battle, only 45 votes separated incumbent Sheriff Sam Tisdale and his Democrat challenger, Johnny Harpole, in the runoff Tuesday.

"Sheriff Tisdale was trailing until the last box came in and then the last box put him over," said Democratic Executive Committee member Marvin Wiggins.

That, along with the slim margin of victory, prompted a hand recount request from Harpole, which election officials denied.

"With over 4,300 ballots, the committee decided that we would do a machine recount," Wiggins said.

"It was just so close and we just like to check it out and if he was in my shoes, he'd do the same thing, I'm sure," said Harpole.

According to election officials, Tisdale actually gained from the recount process.

"So it really worked to my advantage," Tisdale said.

The unofficial numbers from the recount showed Tisdale with 2,188 votes to Harpole's 2,143.

Harpole could request another review after the election results are certified. But Wednesday he thanked his supporters and extended congratulations to Tisdale.

Tisdale will now face three independent challengers in the Nov. 4 election.