Early voting for the county general and state primary elections will begin on Friday, July 15. 

There are several contested races on the ballot.

County commissioners

Nearly every district’s county commission race is contested.


In District 1, Rod Hickman is challenging incumbents Sheila Barlow and Rusty Wooten. 

Longtime District 2 commissioner Tommy Dunavant, who serves as the county emergency management agency director, has decided not to seek re-election. Michael Naifeh is, though, and Ryan Ripperton, Justin Gangaware, and Charles Maxwell are also running. 

In District 3, longtime commissioner Jeff Mason is not seeking re-election. Incumbent Richard Kelley, John Anthony Mashburn, and former commissioner Steve Bringle are running to fill the district’s two seats. 

District 4 has incumbent Walker Adams and Brett A. Giannini, who has served Atoka’s Board of Mayor and Alderman for more than 16 years, on the ballot. Current commissioner Stephen Shopher ran for the county executive seat in the Republican primary.

Bob Wilson is not seeking re-election in District 5. Incumbent Glenn Turner and Randy Roe are on the ballot for the two open positions. 

Both District 6 incumbents Jimbo Adkins and Michelle Smith are on the ballot and are challenged by Caleb Holt. 

Another longtime commissioner, Harold “Poochie” Twisdale, is stepping away from the county commission. District 7 incumbent Courtney Fee and challengers Brad Case and Christie Jarvis are running for the districts seats. 

District 8 incumbents Cecil G. Watson and James “Lamont” Sneed are running for re-election, challenged by Charles Woelm. 

District 9 incumbents Jonathan Murphy and David Copeland are running uncontested. 

School board 

Also contested are the county’s school board seats. Even-numbered districts are up for re-election this term. 

Steve Clark, a former educator, is leaving the school board. Brett Thomas and Loretta Eubanks are running for the District 2 seat. 

Grant Shipley, another former educator, is leaving the board as well. Matt McCann won the Republican primary in May and will assume the District 4 spot.

Mary Proctor has served District 6 since the death of board member Richard Joyner several months ago. Jason Jenkins and Patricia Mills are running to serve this district. 

In District 8, Ben Kirk is challenging incumbent Belinda Rozell. 


Incumbent Mike Forbess is being challenged by Scottie DeLashmit for the county clerk seat. 

The only other opposition is for constables in District 7. Mike Osborn, who’s served as constable in District 4 for several years, is opposed by Jeffrey Johnson and Robert Lomax. 

The following are running unopposed or won their primary in May:

  • Weber McCraw, Circuit Court Judge Part 1
  • Blake Neill, Circuit Court Judge Part 2
  • William C. “Bill” Cole, Chancellor Part 1
  • Kasey Culbreath, Chancellor Part 2
  • Mark E. Davidson, District Attorney General
  • Bo Burk, Public Defender
  • Jeff Huffman, County Executive
  • Kristie Glass Maxwell, County Trustee
  • Bill Peeler, General Sessions Judge
  • Shannon Beasley, Tipton County Sheriff
  • Mary Gaither, County Clerk
  • Claudia Peeler, Register of Deeds
  • Brian “Moody” Max, Constable (Dist. 1)
  • Chris Fisher, Constable (Dist. 2)
  • Curtis Mayo, Constable (Dist. 4)
  • Darren Smith, Constable (Dist. 5)
  • James “Shugs” Stroud, Constable (Dist. 6)

State primary 

The state primary is also taking place and its goal is to determine who will end up on the ballot in November.

Incumbent Bill Lee has the Republican nomination for governor and the Democrats will choose between Dr. Carnita Faye Atwater, Dr. Jason B. Martin, and J.B. Smiley Jr.

In the U.S. House of Representatives (Dist. 8) primary, Congressman David Kustoff faces opposition from Republicans Danny Ray Bridger Jr., Gary Dean Clouse and Bob Hendry. Democrats will choose between Tim McDonald and Lynette P. Williams.

With the districts redrawn this year, the western part of Tipton County is now in District 9, which is represented by Congressman Steve Cohen. Leo Awgowhat, Charlotte Bergmann, and Brown Dudley are the Republicans on the ballot. Cohen and Latroy Alexandria-Williams are the Democrats.

State rep. Debra Moody is unopposed in the state primary.

Lee Mills, Charlotte Kelley and Deborah Reed are on the ballot as state executive committeeman and committeewoman for District 32.

Early voting schedule

Early voting will take place at the Tipton County Election Commission and First Baptist Church in Atoka from July 15-30. Polls will be open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday and from 2-7 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday.

For more information, visit the Tipton County Election Commission at https://tiptonco.com/government/county_commission/index.php.

Echo Day
Author: Echo Day

Echo Day is an award-winning journalist, photographer and designer. She is currently The Leader's managing editor.