By Associated Press, staff reports
JACKSON – Republican Sen. Roger Wicker on Tuesday coasted to an easy victory to secure a full six-year term in the U.S. Senate.
Wicker, 61, of Tupelo, defeated Democrat Albert Gore of Starkville and two minor party candidates. He had 58 percent of the vote with about three-fourths of the state’s 1,889 precincts reporting.
He was appointed by Gov. Haley Barbour in December 2007 to succeed former Sen. Trent Lott, who resigned, and won a special election for the remainder of Lott’s term in 2008.
Wicker begins his 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. “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 celebrated his victory at a gathering in Jackson. “I’m grateful to the voters and I’m grateful to my supporters,” he said.
Wicker’s Democratic challenger Gore, 82, of Starkville, is a retired United Methodist minister and retired chaplain for the U.S. Army Special Forces. Also running were the Constitution Party’s Thomas Cramer of Vancleave and the Reform Party’s Shawn O’Hara of Hattiesburg.
Wicker had leads in a majority of counties across the state, with exceptions in heavily minority counties, including Hinds, the state’s most populous.
Wicker served for 13 years in the U.S. House before his Senate appointment. Prior to that, he was a state senator.
He serves in the Senate from Mississippi with senior Sen. Thad Cochran, who has not yet announced whether he will run for re-election in 2014.