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GOP governor’s race heads to runoff, one of several in Mississippi statewide primary voting

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With almost all the ballots counted in yesterday’s primary elections, it looks like voters will be back at the polls for runoffs in many of the most highly anticipated statewide races.

Overall, voters in the Republican primary came out in record numbers, far surpassing those voting in the Democratic races this year. Ballots counted at this point total 366,703 for the GOP governor’s race and 279,674 for the Democratic race, about the same Democratic numbers as 2015.

Here’s a rundown on where those races stand this morning.

Governor

Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood took an early, wide lead for the Democratic Party nomination in a crowded field of seven and never lost it. With nearly 277,000 votes counted, he has a 58 percent lead over his closest competitor, Michael Brown, who garnered 11 percent of the vote. The other five democratic candidates on the ballot are in the single digits.

In the GOP race, Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves remains stuck just under the 50 percent+1 required to avoid a runoff. In the past hour or so, he’s gained a tiny bit to get to 49 percent. With more than 366,000 ballots cast, former state Supreme Court Justice Bill Waller Jr. will meet Reeves in a runoff. Waller is at 33 percent. Underdog Robert Foster has 18 percent and has conceded.

Lieutenant Governor

The Republican Party had the only competitive primary race for the state’s number two spot. Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann won the GOP slot handily with 86 percent of the vote. He will face Democrat Jay Hughes, currently serving in the state House of Representatives, in the general election in November.

Attorney General

Another race where only the GOP had a competitive primary, this race will definitely be on the runoff ballot in August. State Treasurer Lynn Fitch leads with 44 percent, but who her opponent will be is still a bit uncertain. Right now, long-time politico Andy Taggart is at 29 percent, just two points ahead of Mark Baker. With 35 precincts still out, there’s a tiny chance that Baker will grab the runoff slot; however, Taggart is the clear favorite.

The Democratic Party did not have a competitive race. The winner of August’s GOP primary runoff will face Jennifer Riley Collins, former executive director of the Mississippi ACLU.

Secretary of State

The party races for Secretary of State was one of the few races with clear winners avoiding runoffs.

For the Democrats, former Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny DuPree garnered an impressive lead early. He won with 72 percent as of this writing. The Republican race was not nearly as decisive, but state Sen. Michael Watson is clearly the winner with 54 percent.

State Treasurer

Republican David McRae is the clear winner in the GOP race for Treasurer, with 61.5 percent of the vote. He will face Democrat Addie Green who ran unopposed.

Agriculture Commissioner

Neither party had a competitive primary race for the top Ag spot. Democrat Rickey Cole will face incumbent Andy Gipson in November.

Public Service Commissioner, Central District

For Republicans, Brent Bailey has captured the win for the Central District with 75 percent of the vote. Democrats are heading for a runoff in this race: De’Keither Stamps is in the lead with 46 percent. He will face Dot Benford, who garnered 30 percent, in August.

In the Southern District, Republican Dane Maxwell will face Democrat Connie Moran in November.

Transportation Commissioner, Central District

Republican Butch Lee won with 65 percent of the vote. He will face the clear winner in the Democratic primary, Willie Simmons, who stands at 59 percent.

In the Northern District, the GOP has another runoff race in the works. The top two contenders will be John Caldwell, who has 32 percent, and Geoffrey Yoste, with 26 percent. With 98 percent of the vote counted, this looks to be the final outcome.

Stay with the Vicksburg Daily News for further updates, including results from Warren County.

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