JACKSON – Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant, the Republican gubernatorial nominee, on Wednesday congratulated Democratic nominee Johnny DuPree and said “the general election campaign will offer voters a clear choice about which direction our state will go in the future.”
Bryant, who won the Republican nomination on Aug. 2 with 59 percent of the vote, has been waiting to see who his Democratic opposition would be for the Nov. 8 general election.
On Tuesday, DuPree, the third-term mayor of Hattiesburg, defeated Clarksdale attorney and businessman Bill Luckett in the Democratic runoff.
“Congratulations to Mayor DuPree on winning the Democrat Party nomination,” Bryant said in a statement released Wednesday. “I look forward to debating the mayor on issues important to all Mississippians.”
Bryant underscored his intent to continue running on his conservative record and his desire to streamline the state budget process and increase accountability.
On Wednesday, various national and international media outlets reported on DuPree’s historic runoff victory. He is the first African-American in modern times nominated by a major party for governor in Mississippi.
In unofficial returns, DuPree garnered 173,287 votes, or 55 percent, to 142,285, or 45 percent, for Luckett.
Luckett, who spent the final week before Tuesday’s runoff election campaigning in Northeast Mississippi, did well in the area. He carried many Northeast Mississippi counties by wide margins, such as Alcorn – 5,494 to 2,243, Itawamba – 4,227 to 1,081, and Pontotoc – 5,297 to 1,743.
But those margins in Northeast Mississippi could not offset what DuPree did in many central and south Mississippi counties. For instance, DuPree carried Hinds at 17,394 to 4,035 and carried his home county of Forrest with 4,588 to 356.
Generally speaking, DuPreee did well in majority black counties and in suburban or more populous counties where a majority of the voters participate in the Republican Primary, For instance, Lee, where a majority now votes Republican, DuPree was favored by the smaller number of Democrats 2,832 to 1,797.
Luckett did well in the Delta counties near his home of Clarksdale, but DuPree carried much of the western part of the state.
How those numbers equate to November remains to be seen. But generally, Democrats have to do well in Northeast Mississippi to win in November.
Bobby Harrison/NEMS Daily Journal