DuPree wins Democratic nomination for Miss. gov

By Emily Wagster Pettus/The Associated Press

JACKSON — Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny DuPree on Tuesday won the Democratic nomination for Mississippi governor, becoming the first black candidate in modern times to win a major-party nod for the state’s top job.

DuPree defeated Clarksdale attorney and developer Bill Luckett in a Democratic primary runoff.

DuPree, 57, advances to the Nov. 8 general election to face Republican Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant, 56, of Brandon.

“I’m just so proud of the fact that we had people who believed in us, believed in the message, believed in what we’re trying to accomplish. I’m so proud that people took a hold of that,” DuPree said in a phone interview from a Hattiesburg community center, where he celebrated with family and supporters.

Funding could be a challenge for DuPree in the 11 weeks leading to the general election. Bryant already has spent $3.1 million on his campaign — more than twice as much as DuPree and Luckett, combined.

DuPree said he has been outspent in most campaigns he has run, including the first mayoral race he won a decade ago and the gubernatorial primary. Campaign finance reports filed last week showed Luckett had just over $1 million, while DuPree had spent $481,716.

“We’re going to campaign regardless of whether we have a million dollars or half a million dollars,” DuPree said Tuesday night. “We’re in the race to try to make a difference for the citizens of Mississippi.”

The Republican Governors Association executive director Phil Cox issued a statement Tuesday night saying Bryant “is well-positioned to become Mississippi’s next governor.”

“Unfortunately, Johnny DuPree supports policies that will hurt job creators and cost Mississippi hundreds of millions of dollars,” Cox said. “Phil Bryant is the only candidate voters can trust to build upon the progress Mississippi has made over the last eight years.”

DuPree said he plans to campaign on his own ideas without criticizing other candidates.

“I think people want clean. Maybe that’s a new way of politicking,” DuPree said.

Independent Will Oatis of Silver Creek, who is also black, is running a low-budget campaign for governor. Oatis is a military veteran who served in Afghanistan. Two rival factions of the Reform Party also want to put a candidate in the governor’s race, but the state Board of Election Commissioners has not yet decided which Reform candidate — if either — can to run.

Republican Gov. Haley Barbour could not seek a third term this year.

Before giving a concession speech at a blues club he owns in Clarksdale, Luckett called DuPree to offer congratulations.

“I voiced my support for him and I reiterated what I have said repeatedly: I don’t want to see Phil Bryant get elected,” Luckett, 63, told The Associated Press in a phone interview.

Fitch defeats Yancey in GOP treasurer runoff

JACK ELLIOTT JR.,Associated Press

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Lynn Fitch defeated Lee Yancey in Tuesday’s Republican primary runoff for Mississippi treasurer.

Fitch will face Ocean Springs Mayor Connie Moran, who was unopposed for the Democratic nomination. A faction of the Reform Party also wants to put a candidate on the ballot in the November general election.

Fitch, 49, of Madison and Yancey, 43, of Brandon, emerged from a three-person primary on Aug. 2.

Fitch is on leave as state Personnel Board director during the campaign. Yancey is a one-term state senator.

There’s no incumbent in the treasurer’s race this year because Republican Tate Reeves, who’s held the job two terms, is running for lieutenant governor.

“We’re so excited,” Fitch told The Associated Press from her campaign party in Ridgeland.

Fitch said she campaigned in the runoff as she had in the first primary “continuing to forward with a positive and very upbeat message.”

She said that would continue in the general election.

“We’re just going to stay with our message … that we know what to do and how to do it,” Fitch said.

Yancey could not be reached for comment.

Fitch is on leave as state Personnel Board director during the campaign. Yancey is a one-term state senator.

Yancey is a former youth minister at First Baptist Church of Meridian and worked as a lobbyist for the Mississippi Baptist Convention before he was elected to the state Senate. He works for a financial services company.

Fitch worked for the state attorney general’s office and as staff attorney for the House Ways and Means Committee. She has also been a bond attorney in private practice. Since Republican Gov. Haley Barbour took office in 2003, Fitch has served in two high-level administration jobs, as deputy director of the state Department of Employment Security and as Barbour’s appointee leading the state Personnel Board.

There’s no incumbent in the treasurer’s race this year because Republican Tate Reeves, who’s held the job two terms, is running for lieutenant governor.

The treasurer is the Mississippi’s top financial officer, managing the state-sponsored college savings plans, helping set annual revenue estimates that legislators use as a basis for writing the state budget and sitting on several boards that oversee investments. Along with the governor and the attorney general, the treasurer is a member of the commission that has final say over whether the state issues bonds for projects approved by the Legislature.

Moran, 55, grew up in Ocean Springs and is in her second term as mayor, overseeing her hometown’s recovery from Hurricane Katrina. She has been an economist at the World Trade Organization in Geneva, and for five years in the 1990s she was managing director of Mississippi’s European trade office in Frankfurt, Germany. After returning to Mississippi, Moran served three years as economic development director for coastal Jackson County. She also has run a marketing and economic development consulting firm.

DuVall wins Democratic nomination

The Associated Press
JACKSON — State Rep. Mark DuVall won the Democratic nomination for re-election to the Mississippi House District 19 on Tuesday, defeating state party chairman Jamie Franks in the runoff election.

DuVall, of Mantachie, captured the seat in 2007 when Franks, of Mooreville, gave it up to pursue an unsuccessful bid for lieutenant governor.

DuVall, who is a construction laborer, led the three-candidate field on Aug. 2. He will face Republican Randy Boyd in the Nov. 8 general election.

DuVall defeated Boyd in 2007. In 1999, DuVall unsuccessfully challenged Franks for the post.

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