Chuck Younger will represent Lowndes County’s District 17 in the Mississippi State Senate next year.
Younger repeated as the top vote-getter in Tuesday’s runoff, but this time he got 57.47 percent of the vote to challenger Bobby Patrick’s 42.49 percent.
Of 5,256 ballots cast, 3,018 were votes for Younger. Patrick received 2,231 votes. There were two write-ins. In total, there were 27,137 registered voters in the 19 participating precincts. Tuesday’s turnout was 19.4 percent.
Younger, 51, will fill the remaining year in the late Terry Brown’s unexpired term. Brown had represented District 17 from 2003 until his death from a cancer-related illness in September.
The winning candidate said he was eager to turn his focus away from the election and toward the beginning of the 2015 legislative term in January. Between now and then, he said he’ll be in touch with fellow senators throughout the state to get a hold on what legislative issues will likely arise next year.
“We were looking to win, hoping to win and praying to win,” Younger, who has farmed and ranched in Lowndes and Monroe counties for more than three decades, said. “(I’ll be) finding out what’s fixing to happen in January and what’s the main thing that they’re going to be voting on, which is going to be education. On other problems, we’re going to get together and discuss those.”
As for the campaign, Younger added he was “glad this is behind” him.
“Bobby was very gracious, very nice,” Younger said. “We go to church together. We’re neighbors…we’re just glad it’s over with and it’s past us. We’re ready to move on.”
Patrick, a 68-year-old retired insurance agent, said he was thankful for those that helped him with his campaign despite the result.
“I’m disappointed because I got in the race to win,” Patrick said. “Chuck outpolled me and that’s what the race is all about. It’s tough to beat a family with deep roots locally and I knew that going into it.”
Both candidates advanced to Tuesday’s runoff from a four-man field featured during the general election on Nov. 4. In that election, 42 percent of voters cast ballots for Younger with 26 percent doing so for Patrick. The lack of a majority in that election necessitated Tuesday’s runoff.
District 17 currently comprises northern, eastern and western portions of Lowndes County, including a majority of Columbus. Redistricting will change that for next year’s election, when the district will be redrawn to include eastern and southern sections of Lowndes County as well as southeastern Monroe County.
Nathan Gregory covers city and county government for The Dispatch.