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The Latest: Mississippi GOP senator faces Democrat in runoff

November 7, 2018
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Madison County voting bailiff Billy Swindle, right, hands out an "I voted" sticker, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018 in Ridgeland, Miss. Voters have a number of races to consider, including judiciary and federal offices and some local issues. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

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

10:05 p.m.

Mississippi’s U.S. Senate special election is headed to a runoff, and the state’s voters will either elect a woman to the office for the first time ever or a black man for the first time since Reconstruction.

Republican Cindy Hyde-Smith and Democrat Mike Espy advanced Tuesday from a field of four. They compete in a Nov. 27 runoff, and the winner will serve the final two years of a term started by Republican Sen. Thad Cochran, who retired in April.

Republican Gov. Phil Bryant appointed Hyde-Smith, who was state agriculture commissioner, to temporarily succeed Cochran until the special election is decided. She is the first woman to represent Mississippi in Congress, but no woman has been elected to the job from the state. She is endorsed by President Donald Trump.

Espy is a former congressman and former U.S. agriculture secretary.

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9:10 p.m.

A Republican prosecutor has won an open seat representing Mississippi in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Michael Guest, a longtime district attorney in suburban Jackson, defeated Democrat Michael Ted Evans of Preston and Reform Party member Matthew Holland in Mississippi’s 3rd Congressional District on Tuesday.

Winning a competitive Republican primary, Guest supported higher infrastructure spending, immigration changes, and more consumer choice in health care.

Evans ran as a populist-but-conservative Democrat who voiced distaste for Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi and opposes abortion. He opposed President Donald Trump’s trade policies and supported broader health coverage.

The district has been represented for the last 10 years by the retiring Gregg Harper. Like Guest, he’s a Rankin County Republican. The district runs diagonally across 24 counties from Natchez through the Jackson suburbs and farther northeast to Starkville.

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8:50 p.m.

Republican U.S. Rep. Trent Kelly has won a second full term in a north Mississippi congressional seat, defeating Democratic challenger Randy Wadkins.

Kelly, a former district attorney, first won election to Congress from the 1st District in 2015 after U.S. Rep. Alan Nunnelee died. Kelly heavily outraised Wadkins, a University of Mississippi chemistry professor.

Kelly, a Mississippi National Guard general, emphasized support for higher military spending. He also wants to keep decreasing regulations and supports President Donald Trump on trade.

Wadkins entered the race citing disagreements with Kelly and Trump, especially over health care. Wadkins supported plans for government-funded health insurance for all Americans.

The 22-county district stretches from suburbs of Memphis, Tennessee, to Tupelo and Columbus. Also running was Reform Party member Tracella Lou O’Hara Hill.

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8:38 p.m.

U.S. Rep. Steven Palazzo has won a fifth term in the U.S. House.

Palazzo defeated state Rep. Jeramey Anderson and Reform Party member Lajena Sheets on Tuesday.

First elected in 2010, Palazzo touted support for military spending in a district where the largest employer is military shipbuilder Ingalls Shipbuilding. He urged voters to re-elect him as a show of support to President Donald Trump.

Anderson had called for broader health coverage, an increased minimum wage, and less punitive criminal sentencing.

Palazzo raised nearly $700,000 since 2017 began, compared to $131,000 for Anderson.

The district covers 14 counties from Laurel to the Gulf Coast.

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8:20 p.m.

Democrat Bennie Thompson of Mississippi cruised to his 13th full term in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Thompson won the race in the 2nd District, which spans 26 counties including the Mississippi Delta and parts of the Jackson area, overcoming independent Troy Ray and Reform Party candidate Irving Harris.

A Hinds County supervisor before he was first elected in 1993, the 70-year-old Thompson is in line to become chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee if Democrats retake the majority in Congress.

Thompson, arguably the most powerful African-American politician in Mississippi, has emerged as a frequent critic of President Donald Trump.

The incumbent raised nearly $900,000 over the last two years a Federal Election Commission report shows, while neither Ray nor Harris filed campaign finance reports.

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8 p.m.

Republican Sen. Roger Wicker has been re-elected in Mississippi, keeping the seat he has held since 2007.

Wicker defeated Democratic state Rep. David Baria and two others Tuesday.

Wicker was elected to the House in 1994, when Republicans gained control of Congress halfway through President Bill Clinton’s first term.

After Republican Sen. Trent Lott resigned in late 2007, then-Gov. Haley Barbour appointed Wicker to temporarily fill the seat. Wicker won a special election in 2008 to complete Lott’s term, and was re-elected in 2012.

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7 p.m.

Polls are closing in Mississippi after strong turnout in voting for U.S. House and Senate races and several state judicial posts.

Leah Rupp Smith, a spokeswoman for Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, says turnout could surpass the one-third of Mississippi’s registered voters who cast ballots during the 2014 federal midterm election.

Some problems were reported.

The Hattiesburg American reports an elevator was not working Tuesday morning at a precinct where voting machines were on the second story of a building. Local election officials say one voting machine was brought downstairs, and some people who could not walk upstairs were allowed to do curbside voting.

Hosemann criticized Jackson police for conducting roadblocks. Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba says the roadblocks were in response to accidents, not to prevent people from voting.

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3:30 p.m.

Officials say turnout is brisk across Mississippi on Election Day and on pace to exceed typical past levels for a federal midterm.

Leah Rupp Smith, a spokeswoman for Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, says more than 20 percent of registered voters have already cast ballots at many locations at mid-afternoon Tuesday. Smith says that’s on pace to surpass the third of Mississippi voters who cast ballots during the 2014 federal midterm election.

Polls opened Tuesday morning and are to close at 7 p.m.

Officials got nearly 70,000 requests for absentee ballots, more than double the 25,000 in 2014, but still far below the 112,000 requested during the 2016 presidential election.

Smith says voting has mostly gone smoothly, although there were some problems with poll books as polls opened in Jackson County on the Gulf Coast. She said polls in northeast Mississippi opened on time despite heavy storms overnight that caused damage in Tupelo and elsewhere.

Hosemann complained during a midmorning news conference about police in Jackson conducting roadblocks. Jackson police said in a tweet that they had only conducted one such checkpoint to crack down on speeders and unsafe driving. Chief James Davis says in a statement that police stopped running them so as not to “prohibit voters from going to the polls.”

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8:35 a.m.

There are two elections for United States Senate in Mississippi this year.

Polls opened Tuesday morning and are to close at 7 p.m.

The winner of the regular election gets a six-year term. Republican Sen. Roger Wicker faces Democrat David Baria and two other candidates.

There is a special election to fill the final two years of Sen. Thad Cochran’s term. Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith was appointed to serve temporarily when Cochran retired in April. She’s being challenged by Democrats Tobey Bernard Bartee and Mike Espy and Republican Chris McDaniel.

If no one wins a majority, there will be a runoff Nov. 27.

Voters are also choosing four U.S. Representatives. The 3rd District will get a new member. Republican District Attorney Michael Guest faces Democrat Michael Ted Evans and Reform Party candidate Matthew Holland.

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1 a.m.

Mississippians in the state’s 3rd District will elect a new member of Congress as they choose between a Republican district attorney and a Democratic state House member.

The GOP’s Michael Guest of Brandon seeks to retain his party’s control of the district that runs across 24 counties from Natchez through the Jackson suburbs and farther northeast to Starkville.

Guest’s opponents are Democrat Michael Ted Evans of Preston and Reform Party member Matthew Holland.

Republican Gregg Harper is not on the ballot Tuesday since he is retiring after representing the district for 10 years.

In the 1st and 4th Districts, Republican incumbents face Democrats and minor party challengers. In the 2nd District, Democrat Bennie Thompson faces a minor party challenger and an independent.

Voters in Mississippi’s western half will also be voting for two Court of Appeals judges.

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For AP’s complete coverage of the U.S. midterm elections: http://apne.ws/APPolitics

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