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Baria, Guest win congressional primary runoffs

David Baria (l) and Michael Guest

Mississippi Democrats choose someone to challenge GOP U.S. Senator Roger Wicker; 3rd District Republicans decide on a nominee to replace Congressman Gregg Harper.

Posted: Oct 23, 2018 9:46 AM

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The Latest on a Republican U.S. House and Democratic U.S. Senate primary in Mississippi (all times local):

8:44 p.m.

Mississippi Democrats are nominating state Rep. David Baria to challenge incumbent U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, lining up behind a party stalwart as they reject a bid by a newcomer.

Baria is a Bay St. Louis attorney. He beat venture capitalist Howard Sherman of Meridian in Tuesday's runoff.

Many Democratic politicians backed Baria, the state House minority leader, arguing that Sherman was an unknown quantity. The husband of actress Sela Ward, Sherman voted as a Republican in California and donated to Wicker. Sherman said that was an effort to prevent a tea party conservative from winning office.

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8:10 p.m.

A Mississippi district attorney has won the Republican nomination for an open congressional seat.

Michael Guest, the chief prosecutor in the Jackson suburbs of Madison and Rankin counties, beat a former state development executive Whit Hughes Tuesday in the GOP runoff for the 3rd Congressional District.

The 48-year-old Guest led the June 5 primary handily, while Hughes ran a distant second.

Guest will face state Rep. Michael Ted Evans of Preston and Reform Party member Matthew Holland in November.

The district has been represented for the last 10 years by Gregg Harper, a fellow Rankin County Republican who is retiring. The district contains 24 counties running diagonally across the middle of the state, from Natchez through the Jackson suburbs and farther northeast to Starkville.

Guest raised more than $450,000 through early June

6:55 p.m.

Polls are closing in Mississippi, where Democratic voters are deciding a nominee to challenge an incumbent Republican senator, and Republicans are choosing a congressional nominee for an open seat.

In the Democratic runoff, state House minority leader David Baria of Bay St. Louis faces venture capitalist Howard Sherman of Meridian. The winner will face U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker in November.

Baria has emphasized his Democratic service and promised to champion party priorities. Sherman, the husband of actress Sela Ward, has faced criticism for voting Republican when he lived in California and giving money to Republicans including Wicker. He's emphasized his business experience and promised fresh approaches to Mississippi's problems.

In a district that runs diagonally across central Mississippi, District Attorney Michael Guest of Brandon is trying to clinch the Republican nomination over hospital fundraiser Whit Hughes of Madison.

6:15 p.m.

Voters in a Mississippi Republican congressional primary say their choice is between the experience of a longtime prosecutor and the new voice of a hospital fundraiser.

District Attorney Michael Guest of Brandon is seeking the GOP nomination in central Mississippi's 3rd Congressional District against hospital fundraiser and former state economic development official Whit Hughes of Madison. Guest easily finished first in the June 6 primary.

After voting for Hughes on Tuesday, voter Leigh Ann King of Madison said, "He's never been in politics. He's somebody who I think will go in with an open mind."

Others, though, said Guest was a known quality and they approve of his performance as a prosecutor in Madison and Rankin counties.

Seventy-six-year-old retiree Gerald Smith of Madison says of Guest: "He has a track record, which is one of the things that I liked about him."

12:30 p.m.

Mississippi Secretary of Delbert Hosemann says turnout is "exceptionally" low in primary runoffs Tuesday.

Voters have until 7 p.m. to cast ballots for the Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate and the Republican nominee for a U.S. House seat in 24 counties across central Mississippi.

Hosemann says spot checks by staff members in 24 counties indicate few voters in either contest.

The secretary of state says voting has proceeded smoothly, except for a period early this morning where the congressional runoff between Michael Guest of Brandon and Whit Hughes of Madison wasn't on electronic ballots in Simpson County. Hosemann says those voters were offered paper ballots instead.

Democrats statewide are choosing between state House minority leader David Baria of Bay St. Louis and venture capitalist Howard Sherman of Meridian. The winner will challenge U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker and two other candidates in November.

8:30 a.m.

A relative handful of voters could choose Mississippi's Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate and the Republican nominee for a U.S. House seat.

Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann is warning that turnout could be abysmal in Tuesday's runoff.

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Voters in the 3rd District will choose a Republican nominee to succeed retiring U.S. Rep Greg Harper. District Attorney Michael Guest of Brandon led hospital fundraiser Whit Hughes of Madison in the first primary June 5.

The district contains 24 counties running diagonally across the state's middle.

Democrats statewide will choose between state House minority leader David Baria of Bay St. Louis and venture capitalist Howard Sherman of Meridian. The winner will challenge U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker and two other candidates in November.

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