Mississippi candidate petitioning judge for special re-election after 1-vote margin race

On August 6, Mississippi held its statewide primary. In the Republican primary for the District 50 seat in the state Senate, candidate Scott DeLano’s vote totals initially led his opponent’s, Dixie Newman. However, after the affidavit ballots were counted, Newman took the lead with one vote. This one-vote lead persisted after the results were certified and a recount was conducted.
On September 3, the Republican Executive Committee of Harrison County, Mississippi, met to consider a petition filed by DeLano that contested the certified results and claimed that not all votes cast in the district were counted. The committee stated that it did not have the power to call a new special election, but it did vote to allow DeLano to petition a judge for a special election in five of the district’s 16 precincts. If the judge orders a new election, any registered voter in the five precincts would be eligible to vote.
In a Facebook post, DeLano wrote, “Both candidates have agreed to re-voting in the five split precincts. The actions of today will require a petition to the court and a special judge will have to be appointed. The date of a special election will be determined after the court hearing. We are committed, as we have always been, to see this through. We are pleased that the voice of the voters will be heard.”
Newman wrote in a Facebook post, “I won the primary election. I was still ahead after the recount/certification. Today, the Harrison County Republican Executive Committee took no action on Mr. DeLano’s petition for a new election. I understand that he will continue his quest to overturn this election through the courts. However, I am continuing to prepare myself to represent the voters of Senate District 50 when the Legislature convenes in January.”
In District 50, incumbent Tommy Gollott (R) did not file for re-election and retired before the end of his term on July 1, 2019. The filing deadline for candidates passed on March 1, and the general election for this race was canceled since no Democratic candidates filed to run for the seat. The winner of the Republican primary will automatically win the District 50 seat.
Entering the election, the Mississippi State Senate had 18 Democrats, 31 Republicans, and three vacancies. All 52 seats are up for election. A majority in the chamber requires 27 seats. Mississippi has had a Republican trifecta since the beginning of the 2012 legislative session. A state government trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and both state legislative chambers.
Mississippi is also holding elections for governor and all 122 state House seats in 2019. The general election date is November 5.
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