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Republicans Sweep Statewide Elections Despite a Blue Lafayette County

By Anna Grace Usery

What began as a glimmer of hope for Democrats early on in the vote recount Tuesday night eventually ended with an overwhelming Republican sweep in Tuesday night’s general election.

In each statewide race, Republicans began taking wide leads after two percent of total votes were counted. Their leads only extended further as boxes began to trickle in all from over the state.

Republican—and former lieutenant governor—Tate Reeves assumes the governorship after a landslide victory over Democrat Jim Hood, the state’s former attorney general. Reeves claims the title on the heels of U.S. President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence campaigning in Tupelo and Biloxi for all Mississippians to vote for Reeves because of his Republican affiliation.

“Congratulations to @tatereeves on winning Governor of the Great State of Mississippi. Our big Rally on Friday night moved the numbers from a tie to a big WIN. Great reaction under pressure Tate!” the president tweeted last night after Reeves’ victory.

Out of 847,880 total votes and 99 precincts reporting—according to the Associated Press—Reeves won with 52.3% of the vote (443,063) over Hood’s 46.5% (394,177). That’s a difference of almost 50,000 votes. The combined remaining votes from Independent candidate David Singletary (8,145) and Constitution candidate Bob Hickingbottom (2,495) would not have met that difference.

Fifty out of 82 counties pulled hard red, but in typical Mississippi voting fashion, Hood claimed most of the Delta and a few swing counties, including Lafayette, Panola and Marshall counties. About 52% of Lafayette County residents voted for Hood over Reeves’ 46.6%. Of the 30,773 registered voters in Lafayette County, 15,591 came out to vote Tuesday – a 50.7% voter turnout.

Despite his loss, Hood expressed gratitude to the voters of Mississippi.

“It has been my honor and privilege for the past 16 years to serve the people of Mississippi as your attorney general,” he tweeted. While tonight’s outcome wasn’t what we wanted, the effort to build a better Mississippi will continue.”

There was no doubt early on in the vote recount Mississippians knew who they wanted to represent their state as lieutenant governor. Delbert Hosemann, a Republican and former Secretary of State, secured the title in a landslide victory over Oxford resident and Democrat Jay Hughes.

Out of 847,705 votes and 99 precincts reporting, Hosemann carried 60.3% of votes cast with 510,953. Hughes came in a far second with 39.7% of the votes (336,752) for a difference of 174,201 total statewide votes. While Hughes pulled most of the Delta counties and his home county of Lafayette (52.3% over Hosemann’s 47.7%), the state lit up red in Hosemann’s favor early on in the night.

Hughes said when he conceded to Hosemann through a congratulatory phone call that he promised the next lieutenant governor to help him keep promises made to public schools, teacher pay raises each year, legislative transparency, healthcare and infrastructure.

“Tonight I am energized by having discovered for myself that there is far more that unites us Mississippians than divides us,” Hughes said in a Facebook post. “I will go to bed tonight with as much positive hope and passion as I woke up with this morning.”

Republican Lynn Fitch made history Tuesday night as she was elected the first-ever female to hold the attorney general’s office. Her opponent, Democrat Jennifer Riley Collins, would have been the first black woman to hold a statewide office but lost by a margin of about 16%. Out of 852,265 votes, Fitch garnered 495,111 (58.1%) over Collins’ 357,154 (41.9%).

Lafayette County seemed split over both candidates but voted Fitch in with 7,929 votes (58.1%) over Collins’ 5,883 (41.9%).

Collins tweeted this morning that her oath to serve is not determined by the outcome of an election.

“I am determined to continue a lifetime of service always putting people first. Although, our path did not lead to election as Attorney General, I am still determined to protect all Mississippians,” she said.

The following statewide races hinged on a 60-40 split after the first few thousands of votes were counted and continued through the night: agriculture commissioner, secretary of state, and treasurer. State Auditor Shad White (R) ran uncontested to punch his ticket for a four-year stint.

Mississippians voted to elect Andy Gipson (R) as the state’s newest agriculture commissioner over Democratic opponent Rickey Cole. With all precincts reporting, Gipson was a pinky’s length away from the 500,000 vote mark with 497,647 (59%) to Cole’s 345,727 (41%). The AP does not provide breakdown data for this race to show how individual counties voted.

Gipson tweeted his gratitude to Mississippians and thanked his wife and God for the win on Tuesday night.

“We will move forward together for The Future of Mississippi Agriculture and Commerce, and for the good of all Mississippians,” Gipson said.

With all precincts reporting, the AP reports Mississippians elected Micheal Watson (R) as its next Secretary of State. Watson was a member of the Mississippi State Senate, representing District 51. He was first elected to the chamber in 2007, according to Ballotpedia.

Gipson claimed 499,661 of total votes (59.2%) while his opponent Johnny Dupree (D) followed in a distant second with 345,045 (40.8%). The AP does not provide breakdown data for this race to show how individual counties voted.

In the final largest statewide race of the night, David McRae (R) took the title of state treasurer in a landslide win. His opponent Addie Lee Green (D) trailed him from very early on and the lead lengthened to the widest of the night. With all precincts reporting, McRae garnered 516,316 (61.1%) total votes against Green’s 328,888 (38.9%). The AP does not provide breakdown data for this race to show how individual counties voted.

A variety of House and Senate seats were also determined Tuesday night. Locally, Kevin Frye (D) and Nicole Akins Boyd (R) battled for the Senate District 9 seat. Despite strategic campaigning methods in Lafayette County, Frye (42%) lost to Boyd (58%).

Another local candidate, Brady Williamson (R), was elected to the Mississippi House of Representatives District 10 seat last night. Williamson garnered 47% of total votes over his opponent Josh Hawkins (Ind.) (27%) and Bobby Dailey (D) (25.9%).

The final statewide race with local candidates is too close to call, according to the AP. Clay Deweese and Tiffany Kilpatrick vied for the Mississippi House of Representatives District 12 seat on Tuesday night. Currently, the data shows Deweese (50.4%) edging over Kilpatrick (49.6%) by a margin of 46 votes.

All elected officials assume their roles in January. 

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