Palazzo edges Taylor in close congressional race
By Dwayne Bremer
Jun 4, 2014, 00:57
Former U.S. Rep. Gene Taylor, a Bay St. Louis native, shakes hands and works the crowd Tuesday at his campaign party at Trapani’s Eatery. Unofficial results from Tuesday’s election show incumbent Rep. Steven Palazzo defeating Taylor to win the Republican nomination for the November general election. While Palazzo declared victory Tuesday, Taylor said he believes as-yet uncounted absentee ballots may still put him into run-off contention.
U.S. Rep Steven Palazzo appeared to be headed towards victory by press time Tuesday, holding just over 50 percent of the total votes in the Fourth Congressional U.S. Congressional Republican primary.
Unofficial results show Palazzo taking 52,523 (50.5 percent) of the votes in the race with 100 percent of the precincts reporting.
Former U.S. Rep. Gene Taylor of Bay St. Louis finished second with 44,685 votes; Tom Carter collected 4,826 votes; Tavish Kelly netted 1,084; and Ron Vincent finished a distant fifth with 880.
Palazzo declared victory Tuesday saying he was "confident the people of south Mississippi would send him back to Washington."
Taylor said Tuesday he wanted to wait until all absentee and affidavit ballots were counted before conceding.
Taylor held a campaign party Tuesday evening at Trapani's Eatery which drew hundreds of well-wishers and supporters.
"I am hearing a lot things," Taylor said. "There are still some votes out there. How many, we don't know just yet."
Taylor dominated Hancock County, taking more than 4,500 votes to Palazzo's 1,900.
For most of the evening, Palazzo and Taylor were running neck-and-neck; however, Palazzo gained a lot of momentum later in the evening when rural boxes from the Pine Belt came in.
"We did really well across the Coast and in Hancock County, in particular," Taylor said. "Regardless of how it turns out, I am very grateful for all of the people who came out and helped support us."
In the heated U.S. senate GOP race, unofficial results show a razor-close margin with incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran and Chris McDaniel in a virtual dead heat.
With 98 percent of precincts reporting state wide, McDaniel had collected 149,347 votes to Cochran's 146,835.
Thomas Carey was a distant third with 4,700 votes; however, those votes may be enough to throw the race into a runoff.
In Hancock County, Cochran collected 3,453; McDaniel scored 3,111 and Carey nine.
In order for a candidate to secure his party's nomination, he or she must collect at least 50 percent of the ballots cast, plus one vote.