JACKSON, MISS., AUG. 25 -- Crusading state Auditor Ray Mabus scored an easy victory over millionaire Delta businessman Michael Sturdivant in today's runoff election for the Democratic nomination for governor.
Based on polls during the past week, Mabus had been favored to break a 20-year jinx and capture the nomination for the Nov. 3 general election opposite Republican Jack Reed.
Mississippi hasn't had a Republican governor since Gen. Adelbert Ames left office in 1876.
Mabus won the most votes in the Aug. 4 primary; the No. 2 finisher in the primary had gone on to win the governorship in the last five elections.
"I'm real honored and touched," Mabus said about 90 minutes after the polls closed. "I think it's an indication of how much Mississippi wants changes and how much Mississippi wants to move away from from the status quo."
Sturdivant, who also lost a 1983 race for the Democratic gubernatorial nod, said he would not seek the office again.
"To those of you who were disappointed in tonight, remember that the dreams that unite us are greater than the differences of opinions that sometimes separate us," Sturdivant said.
With 99.4 percent of the state's 2,059 precincts reported, Mabus had 64.4 percent to 35.6 percent for Sturdivant.
Also on the statewide ballot were Democratic runoffs for attorney general, treasurer and auditor, plus 38 legislative races.
Ten-year Jackson Mayor Dale Danks faced Gulf Coast District Attorney Mike Moore in the closely fought attorney general's nomination race. Danks, although favored, trailed Moore in the three-person primary and polls rated the runoff a tossup.
With 96 percent of the precincts reported, Moore had 59 percent to 41 percent for Danks.
Gov. William A. Allain (D) did not seek a second term, although a year ago the voters approved consecutive terms for governors.