Mississippians lean Republican in historic elections - WLBT.com - Jackson, MS


Mississippians lean Republican in historic elections

Posted by Tom Wright - Email

STATEWIDE (WLBT) - Not since Franklin Delano Roosevelt has a Democratic president faced such a grim challenge: an economy reeling from crisis, and conflicts raging around the globe.

Wednesday, Barack Obama wakes to this challenge as President-Elect of the United States of America.  The Democratic senator from Illinois won 52% of votes cast across the country, compared to Republican John McCain's 47%.

In the electoral college, Obama needed 270 delegates to win the presidency; he had won 349 delegates at last check.

The Democrat did not win Mississippi's delegates, though.  All six of them went to McCain.  The Arizona senator won almost 679,000 votes in the Magnolia State.  

Obama won about 513,000 votes here, drawing support from the Delta and most of Mississippi's urban centers, including the city of Jackson.  McCain carried the day on the Gulf Coast and most parts of north Mississippi.

The Associated Press released preliminary results from its national exit polls from Tuesday.  They show economic worries dominated all other issues for more than 6 in 10 voters.

Voter drives came through for the Dems and their allies across America.  7 in 10 first-year voters chose Obama for president.

Meantime, McCain drew big support from most of the southeastern U.S.  Two-thirds of white votes in the American south went McCain's way.

And the AP says virtually all African-American voters chose the Democratic candidate; so did Latinos and other minority groups.

In the U.S. Senate, it appears Republican Roger Wicker will remain in the post vacated by Trent Lott a year ago.

The latest results show Wicker won 55% of the vote, compared to 45% for Democrat and former governor Ronnie Musgrove.  Partisan support by county was much the same as in the presidential race.

Wicker was joined on stage by Governor Haley Barbour as he gave his victory speech Tuesday night; he delivered it, despite Musgrove's refusal to concede.

"It may be they made a statement -- we needed to change parties, we needed to change leadership," Wicker told reporters as the Obama results came into the Mariott in downtown Jackson.  "I'm not sure this is an endorsement of every single liberal idea that Senator Obama has."

"The elections are over and the American people have spoken," said Governor Barbour, who thwarted Musgrove's re-election bid five years ago.  "I hope Senator Obama succeeds at dealing with the issues of the American people.  I wish him the best. 

"We may not always agree on everything," Barbour continued, "I may not be able to support him on everything, but at the end of the day all Americans hope we'll be successful for the sake of our country."

Not far away, at the Cabot Lodge on N. State Street, Musgrove spoke with his supporters.  "After a long hard battle," Musgrove said, "there are still tens of thousands of provisional and affidavit ballots that are out.  I will call Roger Wicker -- when every ballot is counted."

A Musgrove campaign spokesman later told reporters he expected the candidate to have a statement later Tuesday morning on the race.

In Mississippi's other U.S. Senate race, incumbent Thad Cochran held on to his seat, easily fending off a challenge from Democrat Erik Fleming.

Pearl attorney and Republican Gregg Harper is now the congressman-elect for Mississippi's 3rd District, soundly defeating Democrat Joel Gill.

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