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Mississippi House Primaries Headed to Runoffs

While Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) handily defeated Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) in Mississippi’s presidential primary Tuesday, it appears that April runoffs will be required to determine who the nominees will be in two Republican-leaning districts in the Magnolia State. With about 80 percent of precincts reporting, The Clarion-Ledger newspaper in Jackson had Obama up by 20 points over Clinton with a 64,000-vote lead. Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), the presumptive Republican nominee, claimed almost 80 percent of the vote. In the open 1st district GOP race to fill the seat of Sen. Roger Wicker (R), former Tupelo Mayor Glenn McCullough was leading Southaven Mayor Greg Davis 39 percent to 37 percent with 97 percent of precincts reporting. Ophthalmologist Randy Russell was in third place with 24 percent. But with neither McCullough nor Davis earning more than 50 percent of the vote, both will head to an April 1 runoff. The winner of that race will face either State Rep. Steve Holland or Prentiss County Chancery Clerk Travis Childers on the Democratic side. Childers claimed 41 percent of the vote and Holland had 31 percent with almost all precincts reporting. In the crowded GOP primary to replace retiring Rep. Chip Pickering (R) in the 3rd district, state Sen. Charlie Ross is projected to be in the runoff race as he claimed 34 percent of the vote with about 90 percent of precincts reporting. The race for second was too close to call between Rankin County Republican Party Chairman Gregg Harper and wealthy businessman David Landrum, who held 28 percent and 26 percent respectively. Former Pickering aide John Rounsaville was in a distant fourth place with 10 percent of the vote. — John McArdle

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