Palazzo wins Republican primary over Taylor, three others

BILOXI, Mississippi — Although challenger Gene Taylor was still hoping absentee and affidavit ballots might push him into a runoff, it appears incumbent U.S. Rep. Steven Palazzo has captured the Republican primary in District 4.

With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Palazzo had 52,511 votes or 51 percent to Taylor’s 44,679 or 43 percent.

Palazzo supporters gathered at the Destiny Plantation clubhouse in Biloxi, while Palazzo himself hunkered down with his family at their nearby home.

“We’re extremely excited,” Palazzo said after arriving at the gathering shortly after 10:30 p.m. “I can’t say enough about the hundreds of volunteers or the thousands of south Mississippians who came out and voted today.”

Palazzo was asked if he had anticipated a runoff.

“You never know what to expect,” he said. “Politics is a fickle sport.”

Taylor, meanwhile, gathered with supporters at a Bay St. Louis restaurant. He told WLOX shortly after 10 p.m. that he was still hoping for a runoff after all votes, including affadavit and absentee, were counted. He also thanked the “people of south Mississippi for their support.”

According to The Associated Press, Taylor said that there were reports of “significant irregularities” in Harrison County, where he won 60 percent of the vote. He said he wouldn’t concede until those reports were sorted out.

“Because so many people worked so hard, I think I ought to at least take the time to pursue this and see if it puts me on the path for the runoff,” Taylor said Tuesday.