Mississippi voters to pick Democratic governor nominee

Reuters News
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Posted: Aug 24, 2011 10:53 AM
Mississippi voters to pick Democratic governor nominee

OXFORD, Miss (Reuters) - Mississippi voters returned to the polls on Tuesday to choose the Democratic nominee for governor in one of four states due to hold gubernatorial contests in the fall.

Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny DuPree, 57, and Clarksdale businessman and attorney Bill Luckett, 63, are squaring off against each other in the primary runoff election.

The men were the top two finishers in the August 2 primary, but neither received enough votes to win the nomination outright. DuPree took 43 percent of the vote and Luckett 39 percent.

The winner of the runoff will face Republican Lieutenant Governor Phil Bryant and independent candidate Will Oatis in the general election. Bryant overwhelmingly defeated his Republican opponents earlier this month.

The Democratic candidates spent the final day before the election trying to win over voters, with DuPree hitting the central area of the state with radio and television ads while Luckett spoke at appearances across north Mississippi.

Any resident who voted in the Republican primary on August 2 is not allowed to vote on Tuesday in the Democratic runoff.

The polls opened at 7 a.m. across the state and will close at 7 p.m.

The Justice Department said it would monitor polling place activities in four counties to ensure compliance with the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which prohibits discrimination in the election process on the basis of race, color or membership in a minority language group.

Kentucky, Louisiana and West Virginia also have gubernatorial contests this year.

(Reporting by Jacob Batte; Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Jerry Norton)