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Jackson claims victory in race

Though the votes won’t be official until Friday or possibly early next week, it appears District Attorney challenger Michael Jackson beat incumbent Ed Greene by about 450 votes.

Jackson claimed victory early Wednesday.

“I expect the range (of victory) will be 350-450 votes. There’s nothing left out there that would change the outcome,” he said.

The numbers bounced back and forth through Tuesday night and late arriving totals from Wilcox County kept the results basically in the dark over night.

With all precincts reporting and most of the absentee and provisional ballots counted, it seems unlikely that Greene can overcome the deficit when the official tally comes out.

Greene thanked his supporters though he still hopes the official results would turn in his favor.

“As far as I’m concerned I greatly appreciate the people in our community that gave their time, their evenings, their Saturdays and their money,” Greene said. “We’ll abide by the election results when they are certified.”

Jackson, who said he plans to meet with Greene, was generous in his praise of the apparently defeated incumbent.

“I do want to thank Ed for many years of service (in the district attorney’s office). He fought a good and tough fight in this election,” he said. “I hope there will be a smooth transition.”

After trailing most of the day, Greene surged late to take Dallas County, 6,544 to 5,978. Greene also won Bibb County, but a high number of voters in the republican primary may have hurt the incumbent. Over 700 voters signed up as Republicans in the primary, many pundits assume had those voters chosen the Democrats’ ballot, they’d have chosen Greene.

Still, Greene won the county, 880-413.

Jackson won the other three counties.

He took Perry, 2,125 to 1,588.

He won Hale, 2,327 to 1,785.

He held off Greene in Wilcox by 400 votes.

Jackson took 2,006 while Greene finished with 1,602.

If the numbers hold, Jackson will become the state’s second black district attorney.

“I can’t wait to begin.

I thank God for everything,” Jackson said. “I’m ready to tackle crime in the Black Belt.

Jackson, 40, has been a defense attorney for the past six years.

Prior to that he was an assistant district attorney and then a city judge.

“I’ve seen crime from every angle,” he said, including prosecutor, judge and defense attorney.

Jackson’s jurisdiction will cover five counties, Dallas, Wilcox, Hale, Bibb and Perry. He will assume the office on January 1 of 2005. He plans to appoint a transition team of about 12 by September, consisting of supporters, law enforcement, members of the community and one or two attorneys. He doesn’t know yet if there would be any staff changes in the DA’s office.

When he assumes the office, Jackson said he plans to go after the violent criminals first.

“I want to take a hard line on violent crime,” he said. “I want to take a stronger stand on murder, rape and violent crime – for the victim.”

Jackson added that he plans to hold regular town hall meetings, be active in the community and try to stop the cycle of youth violence.

“I plan to ask younger offenders to lay down their guns, in the very near future,” he said. Jackson also said that wants to deal differently with young, nonviolent offenders.

“We’re making a mistake sending these (offenders) to prison,” he said. “I would recommend that they be sent to boot camp.”

Jackson believes such a facility located near Huntsville would be ideal for young, nonviolent offenders.

“In boot camp, they could learn discipline and respect. Many now have no respect for property or lives. I want (people who own) businesses to feel comfortable when they go home,” he said. “They should be able to lock their doors and know that their property will still be there when they come back, and so should individuals.”