Sumrall, Montgomery seize victories in runoff

Published 11:58 am Wednesday, December 10, 2014

City Court Marshall John Sumrall Jr. relied on his record to carry him through the primary. He hoped it would be enough to also take Saturday’s runoff against Willis Yarbrough.

After all 19 precincts reported, Sumrall’s experience was more than enough to put him over the top in the runoff, as he more than doubled Yarbrough’s votes. Sumrall garnered 2,548 votes for 66.5 percent. Yarbrough tallied 1,283 votes for 33.4 percent.

“I would like to thank the voters of the 4th Ward for their vote of confidence in me,” Sumrall said Saturday night.

With the victory, Sumrall won his first full term. He has 32 total years in law enforcement, including 24 with the Bogalusa Police Department and eight years with the Marshal’s Office.

“I won simply because of my law enforcement record,” Sumrall said. “I promise never to let the people down. You never know in an election how it’s going to go. I won by getting out, meeting people and showing them my record and asking them for their support. I thank Mr. Yarbrough for a good contest.”

With three precincts still out in the race for City Marshall and trailing by a large margin, Yarbrough saw the writing on the wall and called The Daily News to concede.

“I say congratulations to him,” Yarbrough said. “The Lord didn’t have it for me. Sumrall ran a nice race.”

Yarbrough, who retired after many years with the Bogalusa Police Department, said he was out-gunned.

“I think Sumrall had more money and more backing,” Yarbrough said. “He just whupped me. Congratulations to him.”

In the elections for Bogalusa City Council, in one of the closest races of the night, political newcomer Gloria Kates knocked off City Council District A incumbent Penny Douglas Williams by a scant 21 votes.

With all four precincts reporting, Kates garnered 282 votes for 51.9 percent to Williams’ 261 votes, or 48.7 percent.

Kates joins Tamira Moss-Smith and Sherry Fortenberry as new Councilpersons. Moss-Smith is the new city councilwoman to represent District B, while Fortenberry defeated Edward Sartin Sr. to win District E.

In her first try for political office, Fortenberry managed 66.3 percent in getting 223 votes. Sartin managed 113 votes for 33.6 percent.

“I’m just excited and thankful,” Fortenberry said. “I want to thank Mr. Sartin for his running a clean race. I love District E and the people.”

Fortenberry said beating the bushes got her elected.

“I knocked on every door in the district and met the people,” Fortenberry said. “I think the people knowing me and meeting me helped. They know I’m sincere.”

Sartin was also going for his first try at political office.

“I just want to thank everybody for supporting me in the election,” Sartin said. “I congratulate Miss Sherry Fortenberry.”

With all three precincts reporting in Saturday’s runoff, Moss-Smith defeated Justin Arnold 327 to 203. Moss-Smith received 61.7 percent of the vote, while Arnold garnered 38.3 percent.

During the Nov. 4 primary, Moss-Smith managed collected 38.4 percent of the vote in a four-person field.

Moss-Smith replaces Michael O’Ree, who did not seek reelection to the City Council.

Arnold made news when he qualified to run for the seat from District B, though the clerk of court and registrar said he was an actual resident of District C. It was reported that if Arnold won Saturday, he would have to move to District B to serve on the City Council.

Covington’s Warren Montgomery edged Lacombe’s Brian F. Trainor for district attorney for the 22nd Judicial District. Montgomery had 45,144 for 52.3 percent, while Trainor managed 41,078 for 47.6 percent. Trainor did carry Washington Parish, however, taking nearly 58 percent of the vote.

Regarding proposals concerning Washington Parish fire districts, voters approved a proposal for a tax renewal of five mills for a period of 10 years. The vote was 932 for the proposal and 847 against.

Voters, however, nixed a proposal on a special four-mill tax for 10 years. Nine hundred fifty-seven voted against the proposal, while 800 voted to approve it.

Voters approved the issuance of $425,000 in bonds for Washington Parish Fire District No. 1 by a margin of 57 percent to 43 percent.