An earlier version of this report did not include absentee ballots from Clarke County.
Kassie Coleman was the apparent winner in the race for 10th Circuit District Attorney, holding a 600 vote lead over Michael Grace Wednesday morning, according to unofficial results.
Tallies weren’t completed until close to 3 a.m. Wednesday after an absentee vote counter failed in Kemper County, according to the circuit clerk’s office. A new counter had to be brought in from Columbus.
By 7:15 a.m., Coleman was thanking voters for a victory on her Facebook page.
The position covers Kemper, Lauderdale, Clarke and Wayne County cases.
Gov. Phil Bryant appointed Republican Coleman after Bilbo Mitchell retired last year.
Democrat Grace carried Lauderdale County with 10,336 votes.
Unofficial vote totals for the four counties were:
Lauderdale County: Coleman - 10,263. Grace - 10,336.
Clarke County: Coleman - 3,459. Grace - 2,829.
Wayne County: Coleman - 4,018. Grace - 3,209.
Kemper County: Coleman - 1,643. Grace - 2,409.
Totals: Coleman - 19,383. Grace - 18,783.
Coleman wrote a thank you note to supporters on her Facebook page.
In part, the message read: "We achieved victory in this election because of your support. I am thankful for the support of voters in the 10th Judicial District who voted to keep me as their DA in recognition that I have fought for the safety of our families, to increase transparency and return on taxpayer investment, and to move our criminal justice system forward in partnership with law enforcement. To those who voted for my opponent, please know that serving ALL the people of our four county district is my commitment."
Grace said late Tuesday night he wasn’t ready to comment with votes still being counted.
In an interview last month, Coleman said she had 16 years of experience prosecuting felony-level cases.
If she wins the election, she would like to add more assistants and investigators and expand the pre-trial diversion program she started, she said.
Under the program, nonviolent first offenders can avoid a felony conviction if they agree to pay certain fees, undergo drug testing and monitoring, secure employment, and avoid committing new crimes, she said.
Grace, an attorney who owns a law practice in Quitman, said last month that he wanted to change the status quo and create a safer district.
Mass incarceration and pretrial detention of people who simply cannot afford bail are some of the issues in the criminal justice system, he said.
He also said he would support expanding the pre-trial diversion program.
Dave Bohrer contributed to this report.
Please check back for updates.