PERRY/Most of the results are in
Wednesday, June 11, 2014 1:00 AM
The Mississippi primary results are in, well, most of them.
The Republican Primary for U.S. Senate continues toward a June 24 run-off between incumbent Senator Thad Cochran and challenger Chris McDaniel after Thomas Carey of Hernando pulled around 2 percent of the vote and prevented either candidate from receiving a majority.
Democrats in Mississippi's Third Congressional District also will return to the polls June 24 in a run-off to determine the challenger against Republican Congressman Gregg Harper. Doug Magee of Mendenhall (47 percent) and Dennis Quinn of Magnolia (38 percent) face off for the Democratic nomination after pushing Bay Springs math teacher Jim Liljeberg (15 percent) out in the primary.
Meanwhile Harper cruised to victory in his own primary taking 92 percent of the vote against perennial candidate Hardy Caraway. The winner of the Democratic Primary and Harper will meet independent Robert Gerrard of Meridian and Reform Party candidate Barbara Dale Washer on the November ballot. This is a step down for Washer who was previously the Mississippi Reform Party's nominee for President of the United States on the Mississippi ballot. She carried less than a tenth of one percent of the vote in that race. Harper will be easily reelected.
Congressman Steven Palazzo avoided a run-off with former Democratic Congressman Gene Taylor in Mississippi's Fourth Congressional District. Palazzo, a Republican, defeated Taylor in the general election four years ago and this year Taylor sought a rematch in the GOP primary after qualifying as a Republican. Palazzo took just over 50 percent to defeat Taylor (43 percent) and three other candidates.
Short of the Republican Senate Primary, the Fourth District was the most watched race in the state and in Washington. Taylor was and remains very popular on the Coast. But the former Democrat - per his straight shooting style - could not quite embrace his new Republican partisans. He said it best when he said he had not been a good Democrat, so he thought he could also be a bad Republican. That isn't the best message during a primary when party loyalists and activists play a major role in the outcome. Despite that, he posted impressive numbers and came within a few hundred votes of forcing a run-off. The drama and Tea Party politics surrounding the other candidates in the race had little impact on the outcome. Tom Carter, who placed third with 5 percent and fewer than 5000 votes loaned his own campaign $200,000. Ron Vincent, the Tea Party endorsed candidate, then Tea Party un-endorsed candidate, placed last with under 1 percent of the vote.
In November, Palazzo will face Democrat Matt Moore of Biloxi who won his primary with 56 percent of the vote, and independents Cindy Burleson of Hattiesburg and Ed Reich of Gautier. Moore is running as a real liberal, a strategy successful Mississippi Democrats in a highly Republican district like this one usually eschew. Moore is not a Taylor Democrat and Palazzo will win reelection.
Republican Congressman Alan Nunnelee faced no primary opposition in Mississippi's First District. In the Democratic Primary, Ron Dickey of Horn Lake took 66 percent of the vote over perennial candidate Rex Weathers to win the nomination. Libertarian Danny Bedwell and the Reform Party's Lajena Walley will also be on the November ballot.
In early May, Nunnelee experienced discomfort due to an intracranial mass and was examined at George Washington University. Nunnelee said in a statement it was "an isolated problem" that would be "remedied through surgery." On June 9 he underwent surgery at MD Anderson in Houston, Texas and his office reported the procedure went well.
His recovery should not impact the outcome of the November election here. Bedwell is passionate but Nunnelee is a proven conservative with results and popular in the First District and will win there in November.
Mississippi's lone Democrat in the federal delegation swept away his challenger in the primary. Congressman Bennie Thompson took 96 percent of the vote against Damien Fairconetue. He faces little competition in the general election from independent Troy Ray and Shelley Shoemake of the Reform Party. Thompson will win easily in November despite the protest votes of Republicans in his district.
Thompson may have taken some additional satisfaction watching the Democratic Primary for U.S. Senate which featured former Congressman Travis Childers winning with 74 percent of the vote over three other candidates including Bill Marcy. In 2010 and 2012, Marcy was Thompson's Republican Tea Party general election challenger. Marcy switched to the Democratic Primary this year and took 12 percent of the vote against Childers - a little more than ten thousand votes.
With two run-offs yet to go - the Republican U.S. Senate Primary and the Democratic Third Congressional District Primary - most of the ballots are set for November. We should have the true final results on June 24.
Brian Perry is a columnist for the Madison County Journal and a partner with Capstone Public Affairs, LLC. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or @CapstonePerry on Twitter.