Marty Turner unseated in Ward 4 runoff

May 17, 2017 10:42:42 AM

Alex Holloway - aholloway@cdispatch.com

 

Local insurance agent Fredrick Jackson will take incumbent Ward 4 Councilman Marty Turner's place on the Columbus City Council on July 1.  

 

Jackson and Turner faced off for a second time in Tuesday's Democratic primary runoff election, after neither man gained more than 50 percent of the vote in a four-candidate race on May 2.  

 

Jackson defeated Turner with 304 votes (59.4 percent) to the incumbent's 207 (40.5 percent). Tuesday's vote total includes absentee ballots but does not include five affidavits, which officials will process on Wednesday.  

 

With results in, Jackson thanked his supporters and said he was excited about winning the election.  

 

"I feel great about tonight's results," he said. "Let's get ready to serve our community. Let's make a difference. Our city is going somewhere -- we're all in this together."  

 

Turner, speaking to The Dispatch after Tuesday's results were announced, said he was fine with the outcome.  

 

"This is a democratic society and I believe in the democratic way," Turner said. "I was chosen last time and not chosen this time. I'll go back to my private life.  

 

"I got a lot of improvements done in Ward 4," he added. "I think I set a pretty nice bar for him to meet and I want him to be there for the people like I was." 

 

Turner served one term after defeating incumbent Fred Stewart in 2009.  

 

Jackson outperformed Turner in every precinct. However, no precinct was as pronounced as Fire Station 1, where Jackson received 120 votes to Turner's six. In the Propst precinct, Jackson led Turner 48-41. He drew 121 votes to Turner's 113 at the Hunt precinct.  

 

Sixty-two absentee ballots were counted. Turner drew the most with 47, compared to Jackson's 15.  

 

Turner lamented his poor performance at Fire Station 1, but conceded the election to voters' choices.  

 

"It's the people's choice," he said. "Fire Station 1 -- I don't know what I did wrong in that area.  

 

"I fought hard," Turner said. "I did my job, and it's the will of the people." 

 

 

 

Turner's history 

 

Turner benefited from a staggering absentee vote margin to claim first-place in the four-person primary on May 2 by a mere 12-vote margin. 

 

Lowndes County Supervisor Leroy Brooks and State Representative Kabir Karriem, both of whom publicly backed Jackson, said they were keeping an eye on absentees for the runoff, especially if the margin proved enough to push Turner over the top, 

 

Turner picked up endorsements in recent weeks from Pierre Beard -- who placed fourth in the May 2 primary -- as well as local attorney and former Mississippi Supreme Court Justice Chuck Easley. 

 

Brooks turned back Turner's challenge to his District 5 supervisor post in 2015 during a contentious campaign. Since then, Turner has ripped both Brooks and Karriem on social media, leading to fellow councilmen reprimanding Turner during a public meeting and Mayor Robert Smith deactivating his city cell phone on June 13, 2016.  

 

A pending lawsuit Turner brought against the city in Lowndes County Chancery Court disputes the mayor's right to deactivate the phone. A public records request, however, shows Turner used 477.2 gigabytes of data on his city phone between July 1, 2015, and when the mayor shut it off, which accounted for 70 percent of the entire council's data usage during that time frame. That usage exceeded the plan's limit and cost the city almost $3,000. 

 

Tuner was also instrumental in pushing for a thorough investigation into the Dec. 16, 2015, shooting death of Ricky Ball by a Columbus police officer. 

 

Through social media and other means, Turner helped organize marches, protests and public forums with the intent of keeping the issues surronding Ball's death in the public eye. The officer, who the city council later fired, has since been charged with manslaughter but has not yet gone to trial.