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Dowdy, Lott Off to Spirited Start in Senate Race

March 9, 1988

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) _ Rep. Wayne Dowdy called for party unity Wednesday to help him keep John Stennis’ Senate seat in Democratic hands, while a supporter of Sen. Albert Gore Jr. said he was ″the big winner″ despite his second-place finish behind Jesse Jackson.

Dowdy defeated Secretary of State Dick Moplus by a 54 percent to 42 percent margin Tuesday to grab the Democratic nomination for the seat of the retiring Stennis. Rep. Trent Lott, who became the state’s first GOP congressmen since Reconstruction when he first won election in 1972, was unopposed.

″We’re not running against anybody,″ said Lott, who said he’d based his campaign on issues. ″Our strategy until November is to run a continous campaign and to work hard and aggressively all over the state.″

″It will take a united Democratic Party to beat him,″ Dowdy said. ″It can be won, and things are ripe for the Democrats to win in November. Mississippi should have at least one Democrat in the U.S. Senate.″

GOP Sen. Thad Cochran holds the state’s other seat.

In the Democratic presidential primary, with 99 percent of precincts reporting, Jackson had 157,523 or 44 percent, Gore had 120,049 or 34 percent and trailing far behind were Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis with 29,789 or 8 percent; Missouri Rep. Richard Gephardt with 19,646 votes or 6 percent; and former Colorado Sen. Gary Hart with 13,439 votes or 4 percent.

″We’re pleased. We were the big winner″ said Gore state coordinator Brad Chism. ″We came away with a lot more than people thought we would.″

Jackson was leading for 24 delegates, Gore for 15 and Dukakis for one.

In the Republican race, with 2,298 of 2,340 precincts or 98 percent reporting, Vice President George Bush had 103,498 votes or 66 percent to Kansas Sen. Bob Dole’s 26,212 or 17 percent. Former TV evangelist Pat Robertson had 21,291 or 14 percent, and New York Rep. Jack Kemp had 5,699 or 4 percent.

Bush picked up 27 GOP delegates, with two each going to Dole and Robertson.

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