With all precincts now reporting in Hughes and Seminole counties and 20 of 21 precincts reporting in Pontotoc County, District Attorney Paul B. Smith has won his bid to retain the office he was appointed to in 2017 after former DA Chris Ross retired.
In unofficial results, Smith won 61.92 percent of the vote in Hughes County and 66.15 percent of the vote in Seminole County.
At 8:42 p.m., with 20 of 21 precincts reporting in Pontotoc County, Smith had won 53.49 percent of the vote. There were not enough votes outstanding for Smith's opponent, Josh Edwards, to defeat the incumbent.
In a race marked by the efforts of his opponent's campaign to tie Smith's tenure as DA to the events detailed in John Grisham's book, "The Innocent Man," Smith said by phone late Tuesday evening he is still processing the emotional impact of his victory.
"I'm clearly emotional just thinking about it and I’m humbled and honored by the victory, and by the margin of victory, and I am so appreciative of all the people who voted today," Smith said.
Smith said Edwards called and conceded the race, congratulating him on his victory.
"He said he looked forward to seeing me soon, for which I was grateful," Smith said. "Given all the consternation of the race of late, I look forward to working with Josh. I hope we can all work on healing those fractured relationships."
While he said he was grateful to the voters of District 22 for their trust and support, Smith said there are a few people, in particular, he could not have achieved victory without.
"I’m grateful to my family," Smith said. "We were just a mom and pop shop. We were just two country kids trying to find our way in the political world. I'm thankful to God, who sustained me all this time, and (thankful) for the faith that saw me through and for the love and support of family."