Six Incumbent Mississippi Lawmakers Lose in Party Primaries

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All runoffs will be held August 26, and primary winners will move on to the November 4th general election. Among the upsets was Magnolia Alderman Kelvin E. Butler's defeat of two-term incumbent state Senator Robert Johnson, a Natchez attorney.

Complete, but unofficial returns from the Democratic Party primary showed Butler with 51 percent of the vote to 49 percent for Johnson, who was running for a third term in the Senate. Butler has no opposition in the November 4 general election.

Johnson has represented Senate District 38 since 1993. The district is composed of portions of Adams, Pike, Amite and Walthall counties.

Other incumbents losing races were Democratic Representatives Joey Grist of Bruce, Donny Ryals of Grenada, O-K Moore of Columbia, Jamie Creel of Biloxi and Tom Wallace of Jackson.

Elsewhere, Bryant Clark of Pickens easily won the Democratic Party primary for the seat held by his father, retiring House Speaker Pro Tempore Robert Clark. Bryant Clark got 72 percent of the vote to defeat Leroy Johnson.

The elder Clark had held the Mississippi Delta seat since 1968. He was the first black Mississippian elected to the Legislature since Reconstruction.

Two of the state's most powerful lawmakers won their races.

State Senator Jack Gordon of Okolona, chairman of the Appropriations Committee, defeated fellow Democrat, Raymond Paden.

Five-term Representative Bobby Moody of Louisville beat two Democratic opponents. He will face Republican Kenny Ray Dempsey and independent Harvey Darden in the general election. Moody is chairman of the House Public Health and Welfare Committee.

Six incumbent lawmakers, including Senators Lynn Posey of Union Church and Joe Stogner of Sandy Hook were forced into runoffs. Stogner, a member of the Senate since 1988, is chairman of the Agriculture Committee. Posey, also seeking a fifth term, is chairman of Wildlife and Fisheries Committee.

Others in runoffs are Democratic Representatives Mary Ann Stevens, chairwoman of the House Insurance Committee; Mike Eakes of Philadelphia; Randy Mitchell of New Albany; and Zachary Rushing of Tylertown.