- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 5, 2015

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - The latest on Mississippi primary elections (all times local):

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1:14 a.m.

Robert Gray, a truck driver who reported spending no money on his campaign, has won the Democratic nomination for Mississippi governor.

Gray defeated Vicki Slater, an attorney who used to lead the state trial lawyers’ association and Dr. Valerie Adream Smartt Short, an obstetrician-gynecologist.

Gray will face Republican Gov. Phil Bryant and the Reform Party’s Shawn O’Hara in the Nov. 3 general election.

Gray told The Associated Press he did not vote Tuesday because he was busy.

Slater had been backed by many state Democratic Party leaders.

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12:14 a.m.

Longtime state House member Mary Coleman of Jackson has been pushed into a runoff by Robert Amos of Jackson in the Democratic primary for the state Transportation Commission’s Central District post.

Amos, who runs a school to teach health professions, had previously run unsuccessfully for Jackson mayor, Hinds County supervisor and Jackson City Council.

Natasha Magee-Woods of Madison, a lawyer and college instructor making her first bid for office, was eliminated.

The state’s three transportation commissioners determine how money is spent for roads and bridges. Estimates show Mississippi has a roughly $400 million-a-year shortfall in the amount needed to maintain current assets.

Incumbent Republican Dick Hall of Brandon will face the Democratic winner in the Nov. 3 general election.

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12:01 a.m.

Republican State Senator Nancy Collins, a close ally of Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, has become the latest incumbent in the Mississippi Legislature to be unseated by a primary challenger.

Guntown Alderman Chad McMahan beat Collins handily, clearing the way for him to take the seat next year, as he faces no declared opposition in November. The seat includes a majority of Lee County and a portion of western Itawamba County.

“I did not win tonight,” McMahan told the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal. “The working people won, and I won’t forget it.”

Collins is at least the ninth incumbent who lost Tuesday, including six Republicans and three Democrats.

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11:48 p.m.

Business investment adviser Sam Britton of Laurel and state Sen. Tony Smith of Picayune will go to an Aug. 25 runoff for the Republican nomination to the Public Service Commission’s Southern District seat.

Mike Collier of Hattiesburg, who ran for the seat as a Democrat in 2007 and 2011, was eliminated.

Debate over how much customers should pay for Mississippi Power Co.’s $6.2 billion Kemper County power plant was the key issue.

Britton put more than $320,000 of his money into the campaign. Smith complained Britton once ran as a Democrat in a state House race and wasn’t as aggressive about shielding customers from Kemper costs.

The Republican winner will face Democrat Tom Blanton and Reform Party candidate Lonny Keith Spence, both of Hattiesburg, in the general election.

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11:36 p.m.

At least two more incumbents in the Mississippi Legislature have lost their primaries.

State Sen. Phillip Gandy of Waynesboro lost in southeast Mississippi’s Senate District 43 to Dennis DeBar of Leakesville, a state representative who challenged Gandy. Both were first elected in 2011.

DeBar faces no other declared candidates, meaning he will join the state Senate in January.

Also, Reecy Dickson of Macon, who first won election to the House in 1993, has been eliminated as Democrats Carl Mickens of Macon and Eugene Crosby of Louisville moved to a runoff in House District 42, which covers parts of Lowndes, Noxubee and Winston counties. The district changed during redistricting. It previously covered parts of Noxubee, Kemper and Lauderdale.

At least eight incumbents lost seats in primaries Tuesday.

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11:10 p.m.

Four DeSoto County House Republican incumbents targeted by a pro-school choice group because of opposition to charter schools have lost primaries.

State Reps. Wanda Jennings and Pat Nelson of Southaven, along with Forrest Hamilton of Olive Branch and Gene Alday of Walls, were defeated by challengers.

Schoolteacher Ashley Henley beat Nelson in House District 40, while Steve Hopkins beat Jennings in House District 7. FedEx pilot and gun rights blogger Dana Criswell defeated Hamilton in House District 6, while youth minister Dan Eubanks beat Alday.

Challengers were financially supported by Empower Mississippi, motivated by what the group saw as incumbents’ failures to sufficiently support charter schools and education vouchers.

Nelson and Hamilton blame negative mailers for their losses. Criswell says he thinks DeSoto County residents are tired of “establishment politicians.”

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10:54 p.m.

A number of incumbent Republican lawmakers have cleared the path to additional terms in the state House and Senate by winning their primaries.

In each case, incumbents faced no opposition Tuesday from another party nominee or independent, meaning they will hold their seats for four more years.

Among House Republicans moving toward another term were Jeff Guice of Ocean Springs, Greg Haney of Gulfport, Joey Hood of Ackerman, John Moore of Brandon, Ken Morgan of Morgantown and John Read of Gautier. In the state Senate, Sean Tindell of Gulfport and Will Longwitz of Madison each turned back tea party-backed challengers, while tea party favorite Michael Watson of Pascagoula beat back an upset bid by a more establishment Republican.

Before Tuesday, 24 House Republican incumbents were already unopposed, as were nine Senate Republicans.

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10:41 p.m.

In the only legislative race where two Senate incumbents ran against each other, Bill Stone of Holly Springs has won a Democratic primary against Steve Hale of Senatobia.

Stone moved into Hale’s district after the Republican-dominated Legislature redrew district lines to make his old district much less favorable. Though Hale tried to have him disqualified saying Stone hadn’t met residency requirements, the state Supreme Court disagreed, saying he could run.

No Republican or independent is running in Senate District 10, so Stone will hold the seat the next four years.

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10:17 p.m.

Software company founder Joel Bomgar has won a closely watched House race in Madison County.

Bomgar defeated Bruce Bartley in the Republican primary in a district centered in the eastern part of the city of Madison. Because there are no other candidates on the general election ballot, Bomgar will win election to the House for his first term. He replaces Rep. Rita Martinson, who retired.

Bomgar ran an expensive and long-lasting campaign. He is a prominent supporter of charter schools and education vouchers, supporting the Empower Mississippi group. A number of House challengers backed by that group were leading races in DeSoto County Tuesday, although two challengers in Rankin County were losing.

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9:54 p.m.

Brent Bailey of Canton has won the Republican nomination to the Central District seat on the Public Service Commission, beating Hinds County Supervisor Tony Greer of Clinton.

Bailey is the state leader for 25 x ‘25, a group seeking more energy efficiency and alternative power sources. Before that, he worked for the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation, and showed strength in rural areas Tuesday.

Greer served four terms as a Clinton alderman before winning election

Outgoing Democratic state Rep. Cecil Brown beat fellow Jackson resident and lawyer Bruce Burton Tuesday for the Central District Democratic nomination.

Debate over how much customers should pay for Mississippi Power Co.’s $6.2 billion Kemper County power plant dominated the race.

Bailey and Brown will face Reform Party candidate LaTrice D. Notree of Pearl on Nov. 3.

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9:38 p.m.

Democrat Cecil Brown of Jackson has won his party’s nomination to the Central District seat on the Public Service Commission.

Brown, who has served four terms in the state House as a Democrat, defeated lawyer Bruce Burton of Jackson Tuesday in the Democratic primary for one of three seats on the utility regulatory body. Burton ran unsuccessfully for the seat in 2011.

Hinds County Supervisor Tony Greer of Clinton and solar energy advocate Brent Bailey of Canton were competing Tuesday in the Central District Republican primary.

Debate over how much customers should pay for Mississippi Power Co.’s $6.2 billion Kemper County power plant dominated the race.

The winners of both primaries will face Reform Party candidate LaTrice D. Notree of Pearl on the Nov. 3 general election ballot.

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9:36 p.m.

First-term Mississippi Treasurer Lynn Fitch has held off a Republican primary challenge from a candidate who spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on his own campaign.

Fitch defeated David McRae of Ridgeland, a fellow attorney who used to work in her office. He is part of the family that founded the former McRae’s department store.

Fitch, who lives in Madison, says she has been a good steward of Mississippi’s public finances. McRae had criticized her for temporarily closing enrollment in a state-sponsored college savings program.

No Democrat is running for treasurer this year.

The only other candidate on the November ballot is the Reform Party’s Viola V. McFarland of Hattiesburg.

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9:25 p.m.

Incumbent Transportation Commissioner Mike Tagert of Starkville has won the Republican nomination for the Northern District seat on Mississippi’s Transportation Commission.

He defeated civil engineer and former water management district director Jimmie Mills of Tupelo.

Tagert ran unsuccessfully for Congress in a special election earlier this year to replace the late Rep. Alan Nunnelee. He missed the runoff in the race, in which Republican Trent Kelly beat Democrat Walter Zinn.

The incumbent has been cautiously supportive of more state funding to maintain Mississippi’s roads and bridges. Estimates show Mississippi has a roughly $400 million-a-year shortfall in the amount needed to maintain current assets. Mills opposed higher taxes, saying he believed the Transportation Department remained inefficient.

Tagert will face Democrat Danny Woods of Winona in the Nov. 3 general election.

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9:01 p.m.

Two-term incumbent Stacey Pickering has won the Republican primary for state auditor, defeating longtime Madison Mayor Mary Hawkins Butler.

Heading into Tuesday’s primary, Butler had sharply criticized Pickering for spending campaign money on what she described as personal expenses such as travel, vehicles and a garage door. Pickering said his spending was aboveboard.

Jocelyn Pritchett, an engineer from Jackson, was unopposed for the Democratic nomination.

The Reform Party’s Lajena Walley of Hattiesburg also will be on the November ballot for auditor.

Pickering has $81,905 in his campaign fund, Pritchett has $12,221 and Walley has no campaign cash.

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8:38 p.m.

Second-term incumbent Mike Chaney of Vicksburg has won the Republican nomination for insurance commissioner.

He held off a challenge Tuesday from John Mosley, a body shop owner from Clinton. Mosley campaigned, in part, by saying insurance companies have gotten away with paying for less-than-perfect replacement parts to repair damaged vehicles.

Chaney supporters criticized Mosley for hiring a Democratic trial lawyer in 2013 to sue insurance companies over replacement parts.

No Democrat is running for insurance commissioner this year.

The Reform Party’s Johnny McLeod of Hattiesburg will be on the November ballot.

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8:28 p.m.

Former state Sen. Tim Johnson of Madison has won the Democratic primary for lieutenant governor, and faces Republican incumbent Tate Reeves in November.

Johnson on Tuesday defeated Jelani Barr, a bookkeeper from Greenwood.

Reeves defeated Alisha Nelson McElhenney, a first-time candidate who lives in Moss Point and teaches at a high school in Alabama. She ran a low-budget campaign focused on eliminating the Common Core academic standards in Mississippi schools.

Reeves has more than $3.1 million in his campaign fund, and Johnson has $54,566.

Libertarian Ron Williams and the Reform Party’s Rosa B. Williams will also be on the general election ballot for lieutenant governor. Each reports having an empty campaign fund.

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8:05 p.m.

First-term Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves of Flowood has defeated his only Republican primary challenger.

Alisha Nelson McElhenney lives in Moss Point and teaches at a high school in Alabama. She ran a low-budget campaign focused on eliminating the Common Core academic standards in Mississippi schools.

Former state Sen. Tim Johnson of Madison and Jelani Barr, a bookkeeper from Greenwood, were competing Tuesday in the Democratic primary for lieutenant governor.

Libertarian Ron Williams and the Reform Party’s Rosa B. Williams will also be on the general election ballot for lieutenant governor.

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7:55 p.m.

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant of Jackson has won the Republican nomination for a second term.

Bryant on Tuesday easily defeated Mitch Young, a Navy veteran from Sumrall who ran a low-budget campaign.

Three candidates were competing in the Democratic primary for governor: attorney Vicki Slater of Madison; Dr. Valerie Adream Smartt Short, an obstetrician-gynecologist from Ridgeland; and truck driver Robert Gray of Jackson.

The Nov. 3 ballot for governor will also include the Reform Party’s Shawn O’Hara.

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7 p.m.

Polls have closed in Mississippi’s primaries for governor and other state and local races.

People still standing in line at 7 p.m. CDT were being allowed to vote.

Voters were choosing Democratic and Republican nominees for governor and lieutenant governor. They also were choosing nominees in several local races, including for sheriff, county supervisor and, in some places, superintendent of education.

There was only a Republican primary in three statewide races: for state treasurer, auditor and insurance commissioner.

If runoffs are needed, they will be Aug. 25. The general election is Nov. 3.

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4 p.m.

Mississippi elections officials are reporting long lines at some precincts and sparse turnout in others for state and local primaries.

Voters in Tuesday’s election were choosing Democratic and Republican nominees for governor and lieutenant governor. They also were voting in several local races, including for sheriff, county supervisor and, in some places, superintendent of education.

There was only a Republican primary in three statewide races: for state treasurer, auditor and insurance commissioner.

Danny Glaskox is the election commission chairman in coastal Jackson County. He described turnout as “mediocre” by midafternoon Tuesday.

In central Mississippi’s Rankin County, election commissioner Eric Baldwin also said turnout was low.

Polls close at 7 p.m.


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