Some election notes

Some notes on the Tuesday gubernatorial and lieutenant governor primaries. See Thursday's Sun Herald for more, including a look at turnout in the primaries (a couple of records were broken, it appears)


The Democratic primary ending in a runoff between Johnny DuPree (43 percent) and Bill Luckett (39 percent) surprised many observers. Most had expected one of these two to win it outright. Some possible causes for the runoff result:

* Darkhorse candidate William Compton did surprisingly well (10 percent)

* Even more unlikely candidate Guy Shaw drew 7 percent

* Relatively low vote turnout for Democratic primary

While Phil Bryant (59 percent) had long been the presumptive frontrunner for GOP gubernatorial nominee, challenger Dave Dennis had hoped others in the race, including Ron Williams of Moss Point, would pull enough votes to force a runoff. However:

* Williams only drew about 9 percent of the vote, Hudson Holliday only 5 percent, even though both had spent hundreds of thousands of their own dollars and campaigned hard statewide

* Where Williams did well, such as Jackson County (25 percent), he was just as likely pulling votes from Dennis. Bryant took 39 percent in Jackson County; Dennis, 36 percent

* Bryant clobbered everyone in the populous DeSoto County area. He advertised hard there the last few weeks; other candidates likely couldn’t afford to because of the price of Memphis-area television ads

* Bryant’s camp said no polling it had, at any point under any scenario, showed him below 55 percent

Lieutenant governor

Some polls and observers (including this one!) had this pegged as a tight race, but Tate Reeves won handily with 57 percent against Billy Hewes III. Some observations:

* Reeves carried 65 percent in populous DeSoto County, a key battleground in the GOP primary

* Hewes, with strong USM and other ties to Hattiesburg, had expected to take that area. But Reeves beat him in Forrest, Lamar and Jones counties — with many attributing this to state Sen. Joey Fillingane from that area helping Reeves. Jones County’s GOP vote jumped from 3,900 four years ago to about 12,000, with candidates switching to Republican.

* Reeves took 62 percent in Lee County, whose GOP vote ballooned from 2,700 four years ago to 12,000 on Tuesday, with local candidates switching to the Republican Party

*Hewes won his home county, Harrison, and Hancock by large margins, but he took Jackson County with only 55 percent — he needed to do better there

* Hewes did surprisingly well in Madison (49 percent) and Hinds (46 percent) counties near Reeves’ central Mississippi home base

-- Geoff Pender/Political editor