Elections

Dixie Newman certified as winner, but Senate election isn’t over yet. Here’s why.

Dixie Newman’s 1-vote win for the state Senate seat in District 50 was certified Wednesday, one week after the Republican Primary Election.

But it’s not yet time to pop the champagne cork, Newman acknowledged Wednesday on social media after she was certified as the winner.

Opponent Scott DeLano said state law requires the election to be certified before either party can ask for a review of the election. When the Harrison County Republican Executive Committee certified the results late Wednesday, “we promptly served them with notice of our intent to review,” he said.

“Now I anticipate that both candidates and our representatives will have an opportunity to review the Election Day materials and recount paper ballots on Wednesday and Thursday of next week,” he said.

Because of due diligence and legal papers that have to be submitted, DeLano said, “I don’t see a resolve of this issue for several weeks.”

The election is to fill the seat of Republican Senator Tommy Gollott, who was the longest serving state legislator when he retired in June after nearly 50 years.

There is no Democratic challenger in the general election in November.

DeLano focused on election

DeLano, a commercial real estate developer, claimed victory on election night when the count had him up by 33 votes. The next afternoon a thumb drive from the North Bay polls in D’Iberville was discovered, swinging the election in favor of Newman by 1 vote.

DeLano, 48, who has served as a state representative in District 117 in Harrison County since 2010, said he will press on.

“Because even prior to the election day we were made aware of some things to be concerned about,” he said. “On election day we saw some of these things come to fruition.”

He and Newman are the only ones who can ask for a review of the election, he said, and with the final tally being as close as it is, DeLano said he feels it’s something he should do.

“Every single vote counts and we’re going to make sure it gets counted,” he said. If the review shows no discrepancies, “I will gracefully and respectfully allow the will of the people to prevail and wish my opponent the best,” he said. If the review shows DeLano is the winner, he said he believes his opponent will do the same.

Newman plans next steps

Newman was at work at her Jacked Up Coffee Bar in Biloxi early Thursday feeling “optimistic,” she said.

With the review process still to come, Newman said, “I just feel like I’m going to give it over to God.”

She was elected to the Biloxi Council in July 2013 at age 27 and is in her second term. Before she leaves her duties in Biloxi “I’ve still got a lot to work on,” she said, including continued improvements at Hiller Park, which she took on when first elected to council, and the road repairs throughout Biloxi. She’s also working to bring more Tidelands money to the city, she said.

“She’s been a great councilwoman, too,” said Dallas Ellis of Biloxi, who dropped in at the Jacked Up Thursday to order a coffee and congratulate Newman on her win. In addition to Newman’s work to improve Hiller Park, Ellis said, “we got a stop sign on our street.”

Newman said she plans to continue to keep her coffee shop operating while she serves in the Senate, and Biloxi will continue to sponsor the Halloween party and other community events she started at Hiller Park.

Her priorities in Jackson are to make sure the Gulf Coast gets more of the BP money, Newman said, to tighten animal cruelty laws and to get on as many committees as possible — with appropriations being No. 1 and also education and criminal justice.

She also wants more oversight of Mississippi’s foster system, she said, and plans to consult experts. “I want to know what the heck’s going on and how we can improve,” she said.

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Mary Perez is the business and casino reporter for the Sun Herald and also writes about Biloxi, jobs and the new restaurants and development coming to the Coast. She is a fourth-generation journalist.
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