Gary Anderson outdistanced George Dale for the Democratic
nomination for insurance commissioner in Tuesday's voting.
It was the only time Dale has lost an election. In eight previous runs he took less than 70 percent of the vote only one time.
Phone call after phone call came into Gary Anderson's campaign headquarters on Wednesday. He and his staff were flooded with congratulations and request for interviews. The primary victory was sweet, no doubt, but the ultimate prize is still months of campaigning away.
"We know this was just a warm up drill and it's now time to roll up our sleeves again and go out and continue to engage the voters of Mississippi," said Anderson.
At the Woolfolk Building in downtown Jackson, Insurance Commissioner George Dale went to work as normal. Dale reminds, he's not out of office yet and there's still much he wants to accomplish.
"I was elected for a full four-year term to finish it out," said Dale. "I intend to do that and what we do when that time is over, who knows."
Dale said he won the areas he thought he would but not by the margin he hoped for. Anderson swept the Gulf Coast.
It's no surprise Commissioner Dale didn't do very well on the coast. By his own admission, he didn't advertise down there. But what is surprising is that Gary Anderson won 70 percent of the vote in Hinds County.
According to Dale, that was a big margin to overcome.
"We came out of Hinds County eleven thousand votes behind. It was just difficult to overcome that," Dale said.
Anderson says it's now time to get his message of change to the citizens of Mississippi.
"It's very important that we get people to understand our focus is on the people of the state and how we go about protecting folks here in Mississippi," said Anderson.
Anderson said he plans to focus more on what he can offer the state as insurance commissioner rather than pointing out his opponent's faults.
Dale was criticized in ads for allegedly "being in the pockets" of big insurance companies. Anderson was backed by trial lawyers who objected to Dale negotiating settlements after Hurricane Katrina.
Anderson faces Republican nominee, Sen. Mike Chaney of Vicksburg, in the November general election.