A total of 5,296 made it to the polls to vote Eli Henderson and Bud Turner into local office, with margins close to those found in the county overall.
Eli Henderson won the Calhoun County circuit clerk seat by a razor-thin margin.
Henderson, 75, a Republican from Wellborn, narrowly defeated his Democratic opponent, Missy Hall, 39, of Oxford by about 120 votes. In Oxford, Henderson won with 57 percent of the votes, with 2,906 votes to Hall’s 2,220.
“I was really shocked it was so close,” said Henderson, who has served the last 19 years as a county commissioner. “She ran a heck of a race … she out-worked me in this campaign.”
Henderson said he expects to continue serving as county commissioner until he’s sworn into office for circuit clerk in January. The governor will have to appoint someone to fill Henderson’s commission seat, he said.
“We’ll get somebody good in there,” Henderson said. “I’ll be glad to share my experience.”
Henderson, who has never held a position in the court system, touted his political connections as a reason to elect him. Henderson has said the connections he has developed with legislators over the last 19 years will help him acquire more money for the circuit clerk’s office, which is currently suffering from significant state budget cuts.
Henderson added that he appreciated all the help from his supporters.
“I’m just excited and lucky to win this election,” he said.
The circuit clerk is the chief administrator of the court system in the county and is in charge of all the money going in and out of the courts; that person is also in charge of summoning, organizing and paying jurors. In addition, the circuit clerk is the official custodian of court records, oversees the issuing of warrants in district court, handles payments of all traffic tickets, handles lawsuits more than $10,000, handles the filing of court motions and handles alimony payments and divorce filings.
Hall, a legal assistant who previously worked nine years as an assistant for former Calhoun County Circuit Clerk Joel Laird, pushed her experience in the court system as a reason she should be elected.
Hall said she was disappointed with the final result, but was proud with her performance in the election.
“I did everything I could possibly do to win this race,” Hall said. “I want to thank all my supporters. They were wonderful.”
Attorney Bud Turner will serve another term as Calhoun County Circuit Judge, seven years after his last term ended. Turner, 59, defeated Assistant District Attorney Foster Marshall, 44, nearly two-to-one in Calhoun County on Tuesday for the 7th Circuit Judge seat. In Oxford, Turner topped Marshall by a more nearly a 30-point margin, with 73 percent of the votes, or 3,728 to Marshall’s 1359.
Turner spent Tuesday evening at his home with his family monitoring the election results by phone and by computer. At about 9:30 p.m., when nearly all the boxes in Calhoun County were in, Turner said he felt great.
“Of course you never know how the election results are going to be until they actually start circulating in,” Turner said of his evening. “The longer the night went the better I felt.”
Turner has spent more than 20 years practicing law in Calhoun County, he said. He has gained a wide range of experience, including as municipal judge, in defending the indigent and working in private practice. That diverse experience will make him a good judge, Turner said.
He also commended Marshall, who would have made a good judge, too, Turner said.
“I just don’t think it’s his time,” Turner said.
Tuesday night, Turner was just grateful for all the support he received during his campaign and the election.
“I’ve had a lot of friends, a lot of family who helped me campaign,” Turner said. “It’s been a family-and-friend group effort.”