By CARL SMITH
The Mississippi Republican Party will continue to have control of the governor’s mansion following Tuesday’s general election.
Republican Phil Bryant defeated his Democratic opponent, Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny DuPree, Tuesday night, securing the state’s top post for another GOP term.
With 78 percent of statewide precincts reporting at 10:30 p.m., Bryant led DuPree well over 150,000 votes.
“It’s been a long, hard campaign,” Bryant told The Associated Press by phone from his election-night party in Jackson “The thing I really am proud of is that Johnny and I ran a campaign without attack ads, without ugly mail-outs. We differ on some issues and that’s good. That’s what American democracy is all about.”
In Oktibbeha County, Bryant secured 6,568 votes to DuPree’s 5,165.
Mississippians also decided the fate of three statewide initiatives Tuesday, defeating Initiative 26 — otherwise known as the “personhood” initiative — while approving Initiative 27 (voter ID) and Initiative 31 (eminent domain).
In Oktibbeha County, Initiative 26 was defeated 7,575 to 3,941, while Initiative 27 passed with over 60 percent of support. Local voters also approved Initiative 31 by over 5,000 votes.
In local elections, Democrat Steve Gladney defeated Republican Rudy Johnson for Oktibbeha County Sheriff. Gladney, who defeated long-serving Sheriff Dolph Bryan in the first August primary, gained over 70 percent of the vote.
Two incumbent Oktibbeha County supervisors held on to their respective seats Tuesday. District 2 Supervisor Orlando Trainer, District 4 Supervisor Daniel Jackson both held off their opponents, while District 1 Supervisor Carl Clardy and District 3 Supervisor Marvel Howard’s races were too close to call at press time.
While Howard held a 32-vote lead over Republican challenger Dennis Daniels and Clardy was down 62 votes to J.P. Montgomery, over 700 absentee ballots remained uncounted at press time.
District 5 Supervisor John Young was defeated by Joe L. Williams in the August primary, and Williams ran unchallenged in Tuesday’s election.
Oktibbeha’s circuit clerk positions will have a new leader next year as well. Republican Glenn Hamilton defeated Democrat Teresa Davis-Roberson by almost 1,000 votes. Hamilton will succeed retiring Circuit Clerk Angie McGinnis next year.
Republican Allen Morgan defeated Democrat Velisia Wynn for county tax assessor. Morgan received almost 2,000 more votes than Wynn.
Incumbent Coroner Michael Hunt also held his position, defeating Republican Billy Miller by almost 3,500 votes.
As for county constables, Republican Shank Phelps (defeated Democrat Curtis White in District 1, while Democrat Curtis Randle defeated his Republican challenger, Tim Cook. Incumbent District 3 James Lindsey, a Democrat, ran unopposed.
Only one of three justice court judge races were contested Tuesday night. Democrat James “Jim” Mills was leading two challengers at press time in the District 3 race, while Democrats William “Tony” Boykin (District 1) and W. Bernard Crump ran unopposed.
In regional Miss. House and Senate races, only two of six races were contested. Republican Charles Beckett was leading Democrat Steve Whitten at press time for State House District 23, while Republican Joey Hood defeated Libertarian Jay Butler, Jr. for State House District 35. Reps. Gary Chism, R-37 and Tyrone Ellis, D-38, and Sens. Gary Jackson (R-15) and Bennie L. Turner (D-16) ran unopposed in the general election.
In other statewide elections, Republican Tate Reeves defeated Reform Party candidate Tracella Hill by over 300,000 votes at press time. State Democrats did not field a candidate in this race.
Incumbent Jim Hood held on as state attorney general, leading Republican Steve Simpson by over 120,000 votes with 78 percent of statewide precincts reporting.
Republican Lynn Fitch won the state treasurer’s race. Although up against two other opponents, Fitch received almost 60 percent of the vote.
Incumbent Republican State Auditor Stacey Pickering held on to his seat Tuesday night, defeating Reform Party candidate Ashley Norwood with over 70 percent of the statewide vote.
Republican Cindy Hyde-Smith of Brookhaven won the state agriculture commissioner’s race, defeating Democrat Joel Gill, Pickens’ Mayor, and Reform Party candidate Cathy L. Toole.
For more election results, see Page A-6 of this issue.