election workers

Election workers count votes during the primary election Tuesday at Laurel City Hall. (Photo by Cam Bonelli)


Mayor wins Democratic primary; two incumbent councilmen ousted

Incumbent Laurel Mayor Johnny Magee will face three candidates in the upcoming general election June 8 after winning the Democratic primary Tuesday, but a pair of City Council incumbents were ousted and a third won despite being declared the loser by a local TV news station. 

Seeking his third term, Magee will vie for the mayor’s seat against independents Miranda Beard, Anthony Hudson and Kim Page.

After counting votes past 10 p.m., the city clerk announced Magee received 1,304 votes total — about 54 percent of the vote — meaning there would be no run-off election. Ward 5 councilman Stacy Comegys followed with 1,008 votes and Horace Cochran III received 95 votes.

Magee said he felt relieved about winning the primary and was glad there would not be a runoff election. 

There was an upset in the Ward 2 Republican primary as Kevin Kelly garnered 130 votes to defeat four-term incumbent Ward 2 Councilman Tony Wheat by nearly 60 votes. Kelly will go unopposed in the general election. He said winning was kind of surreal. 

“To some people, they feel it’s a small-town election, but when they task you with voting and making decisions, I don’t take it lightly,” Kelly said. “I’ll be unopposed, and I look forward to it. 

Kelly said that the past seven weeks meeting with the people of Laurel have been the most exciting in his life, other than the birth of his son and getting married. 

“I don’t want to step on any toes with Tony, but I have already started scheduling some meet-and-greets and town halls for the issues in Ward 2,” he said. “So when I get there in July, I can already start addressing the needs with the residents.”

The Ward 4 race proved to be the most intriguing of the night when George Carmichael came close to losing his seat to Omeria Scott. When all votes were counted, Carmichael had 210 votes to Scott's 171. 

He said he was excited for the opportunity to serve in his fifth term as a Laurel City Council member. 

“I want to thank the voters who came out as the voting process is very important,” Carmichael said. “I hope we see the same participation in the general election.”

Ward 7 was tough on incumbent Anthony Page, who was ousted by Shirley A. Keys-Jordan, who won the vote with 193 ballots cast in her favor to Page’s 168. She said she was overwhelmed when she heard she won the election.

“I am kind of numb now because I was not going to stay in it at first. I just lost my brother Wednesday and my mom in August,” Keys-Jordan said. “It hasn’t set in with me yet. The people have spoken, and I’m going to give it my all. I’m going to accommodate and see the needs of the people as a whole, not just in my ward.”

She said she looks forward to working with the council and the people in Laurel.

“My mom and I were going to run this race together, but now she is gone. But I am willing to learn to make Laurel a better place. I’ve been here for 60 years and love Laurel. All I have is my truth, honesty and integrity, and I’m going to hit the ground running with my campaign.”

Keys-Jordan will vie for the vote against independents Narsett Wilkins and Andrew D. Robinson in the general election.

The totals include absentee and affidavit ballots. There are 29 outstanding absentee ballots, according to the city. 

• In Ward 1, Democratic candidate Ernest Hollingsworth received 202 votes to Vincent Merrill’s 66 votes. Hollingsworth will face incumbent Ward 1 Councilman Jason Capers, an independent, in the June election. 

Hollingsworth said he thanks his ward for putting their trust in him. 

• In Ward 5, candidate Andrea Ellis garnered 204 votes to candidate Joe Porter Sr.’s 170 votes, giving Ellis the Democratic nomination. As Ward 5 incumbent Stacy Comegys ran for the mayor’s seat, Ellis will run unopposed in the general election.

• Incumbent Ward 6 Councilwoman Grace Amos, a Democrat, kept her seat with 221 votes to challenger Felix Fenderson’s 51 votes. Amos said she was honored to serve Ward 6 again. 

“The campaign was not hard,” Amos said. “My constituents in Ward 6 supported me. I am excited and ready to work with the current city council.”

There was no primary in Ward 3, as Tony Thaxton will run unopposed in the June general election.

In Ellisville, a pair of incumbents won primaries.

Aaron Heidelberg defeated Darrius Combest 81 votes, or 64 percent, to 51 votes in Ward 3, while Ola Mitchell defeated challenger Leon Henderson, 107 votes to 47 votes, in the Alderman-at-Large race.

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