Gooch Wins School Board Race; Liddy, Little Head to Run-off; Luther Retains Circuit Judge Seat

By Alyssa Schnugg
News Editor
alyssa.schnugg@hottytoddy.com

Lafayette County Election Commissioners sort through absentee ballots Tuesday night at the Lafayette County Courthouse.
Photo by Alyssa Schnugg

Lafayette County local elections for Circuit and Chancery Court judges and a school board member were all close, resulting in one runoff election.

Mike Gooch will sit on the Lafayette County School Board in the District 4 seat after winning 56.81 percent of the votes Tuesday night, upsetting incumbent Leroy Thompson, who garnered 42.97 percent of the vote.

Mike Gooch

Gooch is a U.S. Army veteran and currently the director of Oxford Diagnostic Center. Of the 1,315 votes cast in District 4, he earned 747 to Thompson’s 565 votes.

“I would like to thank my supporters and all of the hard work they put in to help me achieve this win,” Gooch said. “Without their help, I could not have had the success I had. I am very much looking forward to serving on the School Board. I will do all I can do to help ensure every student in the Lafayette County School system gets the proper education and has the proper skill sets to achieve whatever life goals they choose.”

Circuit Court Judge Kelly Luther
Photo provided

It was the only race decided solely by Lafayette County voters.

For the Third District Circuit Court race, seven counties decided between incumbent Judge Kelly Luther, who won with 25,149 votes, beating Shirley Byers, a Holly Spring attorney, who earned 23,415 votes. In Lafayette County, Byers actually earned 53.43 percent of the votes compared to Luther who garnered 42.59 percent of the 16,289 votes.

“I would like to thank the voters of the Third District for giving me the opportunity to continue to serve as their Judge,” Luther said Wednesday. “I promise to continue to treat everyone who comes before me fairly and to always to follow the law to the best of my ability.”  

The race for 18th District Chancery Court Judge will be decided during a run-off election on Nov. 27 between former Oxford Municipal Judge Lawrence “Larry” Little and Marshall County attorney Sarah J. Liddy.

Little earned about 42 percent of the votes, while Liddy earned about 33 percent. Oxford attorney Carnelia Fondren garnered about 25 percent of the votes. The 18th District includes Benton, Calhoun, Marshall and Tippah County.

In Lafayette County, 8,279 voters cast their vote for Little, while Liddy earned the most votes in Marshall County.

Little, who waited for results at the Lafayette County Courthouse Tuesday night said he is thankful to his voters.

“I look forward to furthering conversations with the voters moving forward,” he said. “It’s been a real pleasure meeting everyone.”

The results of the election are unofficial as most affidavit votes will be counted on Wednesday. Anyone who voted via an affidavit due to not having a photo identification has five days to present an ID to the Circuit Court Clerk’s Office.

Lafayette County Circuit Court Clerk Baretta Mosley said there were 13 affidavits due to lack of ID in Lafayette County.

Voter turnout for Lafayette County was high for a midterm election, with 53.5 percent of the county’s registered voters casting votes Tuesday.

Some people voting reported having to wait an hour to vote at some area precincts.

The final unofficial election results in Lafayette County were released at about 11:15 p.m.


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