On Wednesday, Arnie Hederman, chair of the state Republican Party, claimed victory. Going into Tuesday’s elections, Democrats held a 68-54 advantage in the House.
As of Wednesday afternoon, Republicans were leading in 12 seats currently held by Democrats. On the flip side, Democrats were leading in three seats currently held by Republicans.
Publicly, some Democrats expressed hope that affidavit ballots and other issues could save a couple of their seats. But privately, most expressed little hope.
Still, House Majority Leader Tyrone Ellis, D-Starkville, said, “We have not conceded because all the votes have not been counted. To concede now is not an option. There might be a need to at some point, but we are not there yet.”
Hederman said, “Republicans made history in Mississippi yesterday, electing majorities in the House and Senate for the first time in 140 years. While some races have yet to be called and our majority could still grow by a few seats, the outstanding ballots cannot change the fact that Republicans will hold a majority of seats in the House and will have expanded its majority in the Senate.”
Republicans entered Tuesday’s election with a 27-24 advantage with one vacancy in the Senate. It appears they will pick up two or three seats.
One of the seats the Republicans will pick up is in Northeast Mississippi at the expense of Eric Powell, D-Corinth. Rita Parks, R-Corinth, defeated Powell for the Senate District 4 post.
Other Senate winners from Northeast Mississippi on Tuesday were incumbents Nancy Collins, R-Tupelo; Bill Stone, D-Ashland; Nickey Browning, D-Pontotoc; and J.P. Wilemon, D-Belmont.
Democrat Russell Jolly of Houston defeated Republican Patsy Gregory to capture the Senate District 8 post that was left vacant earlier this year by the death of longtime incumbent Jack Gordon, D-Okolona.
In the House, winners from Northeast Mississippi were Nick Bain, D-Corinth; William Tracy Arnold, R-Booneville; Lester “Bubba” Carpenter, R-Burnsville; Jody Steverson, D-Ripley; Nolan Mettetal, R-Sardis; Brad Mayo, R-Oxford; Steve Massengill, R-Hickory Flat; Steve Holland, D-Plantersville; Randy Boyd, R-Mantachie; Chris Brown, R-Aberdeen; Donnie Bell, D-Fulton; Jim Beckett, R-Bruce; Kevin Horan, D-Grenada; Tommy Reynolds, D-Charleston; and Joey Hood, R-Ackerman.
Republican Phil Bryant, the governor-elect, said winning the House and Senate puts pressure on the Republican Party to successfully govern.
“It is our responsibility to produce – not only campaign well, but govern well,” said Bryant, the current lieutenant governor.
Bell, one of the Democratic House members who survived his re-election bid, said he would work with the new majority for the betterment of the state.
“Our job is to respect the will of the voters statewide and work together to move the state forward,” he said.