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Palazzo, Ezell headed for runoff in Republican Primary

From Staff Reports

Very few of the county’s registered voters bothered to turn out for Tuesday’s Congressional Primary Elections, but the candidates they supported are moving on.

Just over 14 percent of the county’s 8,119 registered voters went to their polling places on Tuesday to cast their ballots. Of those, the resounding majority threw their support behind the two Republicans who are headed to a runoff and the Democrat who punched his ticket to the General Election in November.

Incumbent Steven Palazzo carried the Republican ticket in the race to keep his 4th Congressional District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. Palazzo, who has held the seat since 2011, faced six challengers in the primary and had a battle on his hands on Tuesday just to make the runoff.

Unofficial results from across the 4th District show Palazzo with a six percentage point lead over his closest two challengers. Palazzo will now face a head-to-head matchup with Jackson County Sheriff Mike Ezell in the Primary Runoff in three weeks. Ezell advanced to the runoff by a razor thin margin, claiming 12,808 votes (25.2 Percent), compared to 11,209 (22 percent) for Coast banking executive Clay Wagner. Palazzo finished with 16,079 to finish with 32 percent of the tally district-wide.

Brice Wiggins, Carl Boyanton and Raymond Brooks rounded out the ticket and split roughly 20 percent of the total vote count across the district.

Ezell led the ticket in Greene County, claiming 47.7 percent (473) of local votes. Palazzo finished second among Greene County voters, pulling in 346 votes. Wagner was a distant third with 83 total votes.

On the Democratic ticket, former Forrest County Supervisor and Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny Dupree appeared to have easily won that party’s nomination for the 4th Congressional District’s seat. At press time, with roughly 70 percent of the statewide vote counted, Dupree led Methodist pastor David Sellers by a commanding margin. In Greene County Dupree led the ticket with all but six of the 168 votes going his way.

Dupree and Libertarian nominee Alden Johnson now wait to see who they will face from the Republican side in the the November General Election. Firefighter and EMT Alden Johnson will be on the ballot in November as well as the Libertarian Party’s nominee.

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