Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny DuPree has won the Democratic nomination for Mississippi governor, becoming the first black candidate to win major-party nod for the state's top job.
DuPree defeated Clarksdale attorney and developer Bill Luckett
in Tuesday's Democratic primary runoff.
He advances to the Nov. 8 general election to face Republican
Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant, who already has spent more than twice as much as DuPree and Luckett, combined.
"I am honored, and I want to thank the thousands of supporters who worked hard to get us here," said DuPree. "This campaign has been about talking directly to the people, and tonight the people came out and showed their support. During this primary, both Bill Luckett and this campaign have stayed focused on the issues. We have not resorted to personal attacks. When it comes to the general election, nothing will change. We will continue to talk about the issues and what we can do to Make Mississippi First."
“I look forward to debating my opponent about public education, job creation and rebuilding the Mississippi economy," DuPree said. "I have full faith that the general election will play out like the primary election, with both of us running respectful, professional campaigns that are focused on issues.”
Mayor DuPree is serving his third term as mayor of Hattiesburg. Prior to that he served three terms as a member of the Forrest County Board of Supervisors and one term as president of the Hattiesburg School Board. He is a former president of the Mississippi Municipal League. Mayor DuPree is also a small business owner and real estate agent.
Independent Will Oatis of Silver Creek is running for governor.
Two rival factions of the Reform Party also want to put a candidate in the race, but the state Board of Election Commissioners has not yet decided which Reform candidate, if either, can run.
Republican Gov. Haley Barbour could not seek a third term this