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The Latest: Court of Appeals races appear headed to runoffs

November 7, 2018
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FILE - In this May 27, 2015 file photograph, First Congressional District Rep. Trent Kelly, then a candidate running to fill the unexpired term of the late Republican U.S. Rep. Alan Nunnelee, who died earlier that year, laughs during a campaign stop in the Nesbit community in north Mississippi. Incumbent Kelly faces two opponents in this 2018 midterm election. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File)

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The Latest on elections in Mississippi (all times local):

4:20 p.m.

Two races for the Mississippi Court of Appeals are likely headed to runoffs on Nov. 27.

Returns Wednesday showed Deborah McDonald of Fayette was leading but just short of a majority in the 2nd District, with Eric Hawkins of Greenville in second. Former Court of Appeals Judge Ceola James finished third. The district includes the Mississippi Delta and parts of Jackson.

Similarly, David McCarty of Jackson was leading but just short of a majority in the 4th District, with Hinds County Circuit Judge Jeff Weill in second. Byron Carter of Byram was third. The district includes Jackson and much of southwest Mississippi, stretching to Laurel. McCarty says he’s preparing for a runoff.

Some affidavit ballots likely haven’t been counted yet and counties have until Nov. 16 to certify their results to the Secretary of State.

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3:45 p.m.

Mississippi saw its highest federal midterm voter turnout ever on Tuesday.

More than 880,000 Mississippians cast ballots in the special U.S. Senate election that resulted in a Nov. 27 runoff between Democrat Mike Espy and Republican Cindy Hyde-Smith, according to unofficial results compiled by The Associated Press. Thousands of provisional ballots are likely to be added to the totals before counties certify their elections to the Secretary of State next week.

About 43 percent of all Mississippians who are registered to vote cast ballots.

The largest number of Mississippians to ever vote in one election was in the 2008 presidential contest between Barack Obama and John McCain. The midterm with the highest turnout before now was in 2010, when more than 788,000 votes were recorded.

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10:57 a.m.

Two candidates in a Mississippi Delta state legislative district will move to a Nov. 27 runoff.

Otis Anthony and Shannon Brown advanced from an eight candidate field in House District 31 after Tuesday’s election. They seek to fill the last year remaining on the term of Democrat Sara Richardson Thomas, who resigned. The district covers parts of Bolivar, Humphreys, Sunflower and Washington counties.

In House District 85, Jeffery Harness will be moving to a runoff from a four candidate field. JoAnn Collins Smith was running second in incomplete returns. They’re seeking to fill the vacancy left with Democrat America “Chuck” Middleton resigned. The district covers parts of Claiborne, Franklin, Jefferson and Warren counties.

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8:15 a.m.

Mississippians in the 3rd District elected a Republican district attorney as the state’s newest member of Congress on Tuesday, choosing Michael Guest of Brandon over Democratic state Rep. Michael Ted Evans of Preston.

The state’s other three congressional incumbents held their seats easily, with Republicans Trent Kelly and Steven Palazzo and Democrat Bennie Thompson winning additional two-year terms.

The election brought strong turnout statewide, driven by a polarized national political environment and two U.S. Senate races.

Voters in Mississippi’s western half cast ballots for two Court of Appeals judges, while voters in two state House districts were choosing replacements for House members who resigned.

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