A Republican candidate for the Ward 4 primary in Starkville is challenging the election results after receiving what he believes to be an inaccurate voting count.
Austin Check announced Thursday in a press release that through data received from the Oktibbeha County Circuit Court, he has confirmed two of the votes from the April 6 election were not valid due to residents living outside the ward. Through no fault of their own, the press release said, two residents who mistakenly voted in Ward 4 actually live in Wards 3 and 5, and this information was verified by the Golden Triangle Planning and Development District.
Check’s opponent, Kevin Daniels, formally took the lead in the primary election 94-92 after receiving two affidavit votes April 8. The two candidates were originally tied after in-person and absentee ballots were counted April 6.
“Throughout this process Austin has been in touch with Kevin Daniels, and Austin truly thanks Kevin for his civility and demeanor before, during and after the election,” Check said in the press release.
The current Ward 4 alderman, Democrat Jason Walker, took to Twitter Thursday accusing Check of claiming Walker lived outside the ward as well. Walker clarified that he lived in the same subdivision as Check himself.
“Apparently, the Ward 4 candidate who lost in the primary is attempting to throw out the whole election,” Walker said on Twitter. “Presumably, he has it on ‘good authority’ that I don’t live in Ward 4. I live at 405 Shadowood, which happens to be in the same subdivision as the losing candidate.”
Check insisted Walker’s residency has never been a discussion within his campaign, nor does it have anything to do with the challenge, and he said Walker’s accusations were false.
Walker confirmed on Twitter he voted in the Republican primary despite being a Democrat. Check said this action was “certainly unethical” and “conducted with the intended purpose of sabotaging the Republican primary election” because Walker never intended to support either Republican candidate in the general election.
Walker will not run for a third term. Whichever way the Republican primary turns out after this challenge, the elected candidate will face off against Democrat Mike Brooks in the June 8 election.