By CARL SMITH
While Republicans and Democrats around the nation held their breath as the presidential campaign’s popular vote was narrowly split, incumbent Mississippi politicians held their seats without any General Election surprises.
State voters re-elected incumbent Republican U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, and four sitting U.S. House of Representatives members.
President Barack Obama won Oktibbeha County for the second election cycle in a row, defeating Republican Mitt Romney 8,030 to 7,728. In 2008, Obama won the county by only a six-vote margin.
With 77 percent of the state reporting, Wicker led Albert Gore Jr., the former Oktibbeha County Democratic Party chairman, by approximately 147,000 votes. In Oktibbeha County, Wicker led Gore by almost 1,000 votes at press time. Wicker, 61, of Tupelo, has been in the Senate since 2007. He begins a six-year term in January.
“We’re going to have to really attack our spending problem, much the same as a family does when they’ve fallen on hard times,” Wicker said Tuesday to the Associated Press. “That means we’re going to have to cut spending even in programs that we like. We’ve reached this sort of crisis where the solutions are going to have to be bipartisan.”
Wicker also ran against the Constitution Party’s Thomas Cramer and Reform Party’s Shawn O’Hara. At press time, both third party candidates had almost 20,000 statewide votes combined.
Incumbent GOP Reps. Alan Nunnelee, Gregg Harper and Steven Palazzo also held on their respective seats, while Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson was also re-elected.
Nunnelee, the state’s District 1 representative, held a 50,000-vote lead over Democrat Brad Morris at press time with 75 percent of the vote tallied. In Oktibbeha County, Nunnelee led Morris by only 161 votes at press time.
Three third party candidates also in the race combined for almost 3,000 districtwide votes.
Harper held a 56-point lead as of press time over Reform Party candidate John “Luke” Pannell. With 77 percent of the district’s vote counted, Harper had 150,088 votes, while his challenger had 41,249 votes. Locally, Harper picked up 8,489 votes, while Pannell received 3,232.
As of press time, Thompson, Mississippi’s lone U.S. House Democrat, led Republican Bill Marcy by 80,000 votes.
Palazzo led his challenger, Republican Matthew Moore, by 70,000 votes at press time, and is expected to continue to represent Mississippi’s 4th Congressional District.
The Associated Press projected Josiah Coleman to win the Mississippi Supreme Court District 1 race, leading Richard “Flip” Phillips by 41,000 votes as of press time.
Locally, Oktibbeha County District 1 Election Commissioner Greg Fulgham led Judith Goodman 700 to 443 at press time in the county’s only challenged commissioner race. Both are members of the GOP.