Runoffs Set in Sumter, Choctaw Counties

Officials in Sumter County say they are pleased with turnout during Tuesday's elections.

One of the races to watch is that of Sumter County sheriff. This election determines who will replace long-time Sheriff Johnny Hatter, who did not seek re-election.

Moving to a run-off will be Thomas Lewis, who received 37 percent of the vote Tuesday, and Tyrone Clark, who placed second with 36 percent.

"It was a really good turnout," said Sumter County Probate Judge Willie Pearl Rice. "Sumter County usually votes 30,35 percent. Fifty percent is real good for us."

There will also be a runoff in the Sumter County District 5 commissioner's race between Robert Smith and Ottice Russelle.

In Choctaw County, Ala., incumbent Sheriff James Lovette, moves to the runoff election where he will take on challenger, Lee Henry McGrew.

These same two men faced each other in a runoff four years ago, with Lovette winning and becoming sheriff. Each candidate was asked what sets him apart from his opponent.

"I wouldn't say there is any difference," said Lovette. "I think we both want the same thing for the sheriff's office and the people of Choctaw County."

"I have about 30 years of experience. I started back in 1981, and I've done a continuous effort," said McGrew. "He was out of law enforcement for approximately 16 years and then got back in and ran and won, but I think my experience alone should be the difference."

Five candidates ran for sheriff's position in this primary. The runoff election will be July 13.

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