Mississippi Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant has won the Republican nomination in the state’s open governor’s race, and will be the favorite to succeed Gov. Haley Barbour (R).
Bryant won the GOP primary going away and will avoid a primary runoff, according to the AP.
Whom he faces is still up in the air. Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny Dupree and businessman Bill Luckett are headed for an Aug. 23 runoff on the Democratic side. Dupree led Luckett 44 percent to 40 percent with 80 percent of precincts reporting.
Barbour is term-limited and cannot run for reelection.
Bryant led businessman Dave Dennis 59 percent to 26 percent, avoiding a GOP runoff easily.
Democrats in Mississippi are at a low point, having just lost control of the state Senate and not even fielding a candidate for lieutenant governor, secretary of state or state auditor.
Their struggles mirror what has happened in several Southern states over the past year — most notably Georgia and Louisiana — where several Democrats in the state legislatures have been switching to become Republicans.
The other gubernatorial races this year are in Kentucky, Louisiana, and West Virginia. Govs. Steve Beshear (D-Ky.) and Bobby Jindal (R-La.) and acting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin (D-W.Va.) are all favored to win.