All votes matter. That seemed to be the motto at the Harrison County Courthouse on Wednesday as affidavit ballots were tallied to break the tie between two Democratic candidates hoping to face Republican Carolyn Crawford in November's general election for the state house District 121 seat.
Emotions and thoughts were high for both Hunter Dawkins and Brian Pearse, who tied with 323 votes each in Tuesday's primary election.
"Did I do enough? Did I reach enough people? Could I have done more? Can I have campaigned harder? That's what's going through my mind," Pearse explained.
"It's nerve racking but also it's enjoyable. Like I said, I enjoy this American process. It's unbelievable to be able to be on the ballot and see your name," Dawkins said.
Both candidates sat uncomfortably and watched closely as the ballots were tallied by hand. In this case, every vote counted.
"It was just like wow. When will this ever end? But, I'm glad there was one more. One vote does count," Pearse said.
After five hours of sorting, the final count was in.
"The ballots have been processed. The total now is Hunter Dawkins 326, Brian Pearse 327," Harrison County Circuit Clerk Connie Ladner announced.
With that announcement, Pearse got very emotional.
"Um, relieved but happy," Pearse said as he caught his breath. "You're right. It's just an emotional drain, and now we just get ready for the next round. Thank you for everybody that did vote for me, all 327 people. Thank you."
One more affidavit ballot is waiting to be tallied. If that voter is able to present an ID, it could cause another tie, which would lead to a runoff between the candidates.
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