Harper and Davis Win Mississippi GOP Runoffs

Posted April 1, 2008 at 9:56pm

Former Rankin County Republican Party Chairman Gregg Harper will be the strong favorite to fill the seat of retiring Rep. Chip Pickering in Mississippi’s 3rd district after he beat out state Sen. Charlie Ross (R) in a GOP runoff Tuesday, according to unofficial results posted by The Associated Press. In the 1st district, Southaven Mayor Greg Davis was clinging to a narrow lead in the Republican runoff with 98 percent of the precincts reporting. Harper will face Pickens Alderman Joel Gill, who secured the Democratic nomination in the 3rd district in the state’s March 11 primary. Harper, who finished second in last month’s primary, earned his victory on the back of a superior get-out-the-vote effort after being outraised and outspent by Ross in the primary and runoff. With more than 90 percent of precincts reporting Tuesday night, Harper held a lead of more than 6,000 votes in a race that brought out less than 50,000 voters. Meanwhile, in the northern Mississippi 1st district race to fill the seat of now-Sen. Roger Wicker (R), Prentiss County Chancery Clerk Travis Childers beat state Rep. Steve Holland in the Democratic primary runoff. In Tuesday’s vote, Childers earned about half the 40,000 votes he received during the March 11 primary, but it was still enough to beat Holland by a double-digit margin in a race that, like the Republican runoffs, saw a low turnout. On the Republican side, former Tupelo Mayor Glenn McCullough was locked in a back-and-forth battle with Davis for most of the night, but unofficial results gave the race to Davis by fewer than 1,000 votes. The Associated Press reported Davis leading by 2 points with 98 percent of precincts reporting. Voters won’t have to wait until November to see how Davis and Childers fare in a head-to-head matchup. They will meet in the special election to fill the remainder of Wicker’s term, which is scheduled for the end of the month. Davis will be favored both in the special election and in November. – John McArdle