September 30, 2013 8:18:50 AM
HATTIESBURG -- The votes have all been tallied in Hattiesburg. This time, both candidates agree that Mayor Johnny DuPree has won a fourth term over challenger Dave Ware.
The final margin was 202 votes -- 7,507 for DuPree, 7,305 for Ware, The Hattiesburg American reported.
DuPree's supporters gathered at the City Hall steps on Saturday, chanting "Who dat!" and "Four more years!"
"I thank you all for holding us up...thank you all for letting me be your mayor," Dupree told them.
Ware said, "Today, Hattiesburg finally has a mayor. And I want to congratulate Mr. DuPree on his win, as he is now the mayor of Hattiesburg once again."
Ware challenged a 37-vote loss in June. After testimony about voter fraud and witness intimidation, all 580 absentee ballots were thrown out.
Federal and state observers oversaw Tuesday's voting and the count that ended Saturday.
Ware said he decided against challenging the results both because of the increased oversight and because he doesn't want to "bog down" the city in another election fight.
"We've seen some problems in our election process, and we do need to continue on that conversation. But we need to make sure that we continue on that conversation without contempt," he said. "We need to sit down with mutual respect and talk about how we can improve this process for our community."
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