Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny DuPree is the Democratic nominee for Governor after last night's historic runoff election.

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Johnny DuPree Wins Democratic Runoff in Historic Election

By Daniel Cherry | Published 24 Aug 2011 03:08am | comments

History has been made in Mississippi. Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny DuPree is the Democratic nominee for governor becoming the first black candidate to win a major party nod for the state’s top job. MPB News is covering both candidates in yesterday’s runoff. We have a team report this morning beginning with MPB’s Daniel Cherry at the DuPree campaign in Hattiesburg.

Throngs of supporters burst into celebration when Johnny DuPree addressed the crowd last night at the Jackie Sherrill Community Center in Hattiesburg. DuPree started out with a commanding lead and never looked back. He says it’s his message that’s gotten him this far.

“We’re missing some opportunities in Mississippi, and we could be first. Education, job growth, all the things that people are in need of, and areas that we could be first in that we need to look at. Areas like the Delta and Jackson. All those places that everybody knows needs some attention, and we need to put some attention where the need is. ”

DuPree says his credentials of public service make him more than qualified to be Mississippi’s next governor. That’s been his message from day one, and he’s reluctant to bring his race into his campaign.

“We’ve not gone out and just tried to talk to people, ’Hey, I’m a black person running for governor. It’s apparent. I’m a black man running for governor. ’ What we’ve tried to do is send out our message. People see who I am. We have a history of working, regardless the color of my skin, working for the betterment of our citizens.”

Although DuPree has kept his message as race neutral as possible, others are excited at the opportunity to cast a ballot for an African American in a race for the state’s highest office. H.C. Johnson from Hattiesburg says this is an historic moment, and it shows Mississippi is moving in the right direction.

“Times have changed. Mississippi has changed. We work together in this state. Yeah we have our differences, but we are a people that are resilient and we will win.”

Mr. DuPree has his work cut out for him come November. He’s facing Republican Lieutenant Governor Phil Bryant. Who at last campaign finance reports has already spent about 6 times the amount of money on his campaign than DuPree. Reporting from Hattiesburg, Daniel Cherry…MPB News.

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