Rematch in Hattiesburg Close Again

Hattiesburg, Miss.
Early returns Tuesday night showed independent Dave Ware with a very slim lead over Democratic incumbent Johnny DuPree in a special election for Hattiesburg mayor, with absentee votes still not counted.

The Hattiesburg American reported Ware led 6,848 votes to 6,816 for DuPree, with all 14 precincts reporting late Tuesday night. A third candidate, independent Shawn O'Hara, received 26 votes. The race remained undecided with 1,055 absentee ballots to be counted.

WDAM reported that election commissioners called it a day just before 5 p.m. Wednesday. The process was to resume Thursday morning.

Boxes from five of the 14 precincts were set aside for further review because of unmarked ballots.

Poll managers will be questioned over unmarked ballots by the election commission. The commission will then decide what to do with those ballots.

DuPree, a Democrat, recorded 37 more votes than Ware, a former city council member, in a June 4 election. But Judge William Coleman called a new election after a mistrial was declared in a suit brought by Ware challenging the outcome.

Ware had argued there were irregularities with some ballots and the way some votes were counted.

DuPree has been in office since 2001 and was the 2011 Democratic nominee for governor.