Updated at 11:13 p.m.
Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny DuPree defeated attorney and businessman Bill Luckett Tuesday to win the Democratic nomination in Mississippi's gubernatorial race. With 67 percent of precincts reporting, DuPree leads Luckett 55 percent to 45 percent, according to the Associated Press.
With the victory, DuPree becomes the first African-American candidate to win the gubernatorial nomination of a major party in the state's history. Throughout the primary and runoff campaigns, DuPree emphasized his record of job creation as mayor, while Luckett played up his status as the only non-politician left in the race after the primary.
"The Democratic Governors Association congratulates Mayor Dupree on his historic victory tonight," said Democratic Governors Association chairman Martin O'Malley. "He has helped move Mississippi forward by becoming the first African-American to run for governor on a major party ticket. We look forward to working with his campaign and Mississippi Democrats in the coming months."
DuPree will face Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant, the Republican nominee, in the November 8 general election. Bryant is considered a heavy favorite to succeed Gov. Haley Barbour.
"Unfortunately, Johnny DuPree supports policies that will hurt job creators and cost Mississippi hundreds of millions of dollars," said Republican Governors Association executive director Phil Cox. "Phil Bryant is the only candidate voters can trust to build upon the progress Mississippi has made over the last eight years."
DuPree prevailed despite a serious fundraising disadvantage. According to disclosure reports released last week, Luckett spent more than twice as much money on his campaign as DuPree since January.
"I have come to know Mayor DuPree well. I regard him as a friend and someone who loves this great state as I do," said Luckett in a statement. "He has showcased his leadership credentials. Just look at Hattiesburg. He has showcased his desire to serve ALL Mississippians. Mayor DuPree can lead us into the future. He is a fellow Mississippian who deserves and has earned my support and he's got it. Tonight, we stand with Mayor DuPree as he launches his campaign for Governor of Mississippi."
DuPree and Luckett met in a runoff for the nomination Tuesday because no candidate in the four-person Democratic field received a majority of the votes in the August 2 primary. DuPree finished first with 43 percent, followed by Luckett with 39 percent.
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