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Wicker, Nunnelee, Harper hold off challenges

 

Emily Wagster Pettus/The Associated Press

 

JACKSON -- Two years after booting two incumbents from the U.S. House, Mississippi voters chose stability in 2012 by re-electing all four current congressmen and returning Republican Roger Wicker to the U.S. Senate. 

 

The state on Tuesday also delivered all six of its presidential electoral votes to Republican Mitt Romney, as expected. Mississippi has voted Republican in every presidential election since 1980. 

 

Wicker won a six-year term. The House members won two-year terms: Republicans Alan Nunnelee (1st District), Gregg Harper (3rd District) and Steven Palazzo (4th District) won their races while Democrat Bennie Thompson retained his seat in the Delta's 2nd District. 

 

Wicker, 61, of Tupelo, has been in the Senate since December 2007. 

 

"We're going to have to really attack our spending problem, much the same as a family does when they've fallen on hard times," Wicker said Tuesday. "That means we're going to have to cut spending even in programs that we like. We've reached this sort of crisis where the solutions are going to have to be bipartisan." 

 

Wicker's Democratic challenger was Albert N. Gore Jr., 82, of Starkville, a retired United Methodist minister and retired chaplain for the U.S. Army Special Forces.  

 

Nunnelee, 54, of Tupelo, was in the insurance business and was a longtime state senator when he unseated Democratic Rep. Travis Childers in November 2010. 

 

Nunnelee's Democratic challenger this year was Brad Morris, 37, of Oxford, an attorney and businessman who once was Childers' chief of staff.  

 

Thompson, 64, of Bolton, has held the 2nd District seat since 1993 and is the longest-serving current member of Mississippi's House delegation. He is the top Democrat on the House Homeland Security Committee. 

 

Harper, 56, of Pearl, is an attorney and first won the 3rd seat November 2008. He said he's focused his on his work on the Energy and Commerce Committee. 

 

Crystal Biggs of Florence won the Democratic primary but withdrew from the race for health reasons. Democrats didn't replace her on the ballot. Reform Party candidate John "Luke" Pannell ran in the 3rd District but never filed a campaign finance report. 

 

The 3rd District stretches from Wilkinson County by the Mississippi River, through the Jackson suburbs in Rankin County and up to Noxubee County, bordering Alabama. It includes 20 counties and parts of four. 

 

Palazzo, 42, of Biloxi, is a Gulf War veteran who previously served in the state House of Representatives. He first won the 4th District seat November 2010 by defeating longtime Democratic Rep. Gene Taylor. 

 

Palazzo's Democratic challenger this year was Matthew Moore, 36, of Biloxi, a community college honors student.  

 

The 4th District stretches from the Gulf of Mexico up to the sand clay hills of Clarke County, south of Meridian. It includes Biloxi, Gulfport, Pascagoula and Hattiesburg, covering 13 counties and part of Clarke County.

 

 

 

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