A count of absentee and affidavit ballots in Meridian's Ward Four put incumbent councilman Jesse Palmer in a runoff election with challenger Kim Houston. Just over 34 percent of the 22,120 registered voters in the city cast ballots in the primaries Tuesday.
Palmer was behind in the count on Tuesday night, following Craig Houston, who had 307 votes to Palmer's 295 votes. The absentees and affidavits put Palmer at 360 to Craig Houston's 325. Kim Houston had the most votes cast in the Ward Four election at 513.
Ward Two Councilwoman Mary A.B. Perry will face challenger Kenneth Dustin Markham in the runoff. After absentees and affidavits were included Markham had 432 votes and Perry had 350 votes.
There are no Republican challengers in Ward Two or Ward Four. In Ward Two, the runoff winner will hold the council seat; in Ward Four the winner will face independent candidate Thomas Everett Hopson in the general election.
Party workers will certify the results later this week.
David Stevens, chairman of the Meridian Municipal Republican Executive Committee, described the Republican turnout as light.
"We had the mayor's race contested and I think a lot of folks just thought that was a foregone thing, that Mayor Barry would go back in as the nominee," Stevens said. "It was a pretty decent turnout in the ward where Bobby Smith, the incumbent, faced opposition."
Smith lost the nomination to Republican challenger Randy Hammon, who will face Democrat John Harris in the general election.
Stevens said Republicans need to have a stronger showing in June.
"We're pleased but we hope it improves a lot for the general election," Stevens said.
John Flowers, chairman of the Democratic Executive Committee, echoed those remarks when he described his party's turnout.
"I thought the turnout was good. We expect it to be better for the general election," Flowers said.
Republican Mayor Cheri Barry will meet Democrat Percy Bland in the general election. Independents Wally Hudnall and Walter Patton will also be on the mayoral ballot.
Ward One Republican incumbent George M. Thomas will face Democratic challenger Martin M. Jack in the general.
Ward Three Republican incumbent Barbara Henson is unopposed.
The runoff elections will be held May 21; the general election will be held June 4.
City of Meridian municipal election primary results
Percy Bland - 4,234 votes
Rod Amos - 586 votes
Cheri Barry - 2,497 votes
William Bond Compton - 134 votes
Democrat, City Council Ward 2
Kenneth Dustin Markham - 432
Mary Perry - 350
Nathaniel Pringle Jr. - 228
Terry L. Stennis 71
Democrat, City Council Ward 4
Kim Houston - 513 votes
Craig Houston - 325 votes
Jesse Palmer - 360 votes
John Nelson Jr. - 56 votes
Republican, City Council Ward 5
Randy Hammon - 367 votes
Bobby Smith - 239 votes
Editor's note: These results include absentee and affidavit ballots.