Trump, Clinton win in Mississippi

Published 7:22 pm Tuesday, March 8, 2016

A voter prepares to cast a ballot Tuesday morning in Lincoln County.

A voter prepares to cast a ballot Tuesday morning in Lincoln County.

JACKSON (AP) — Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton won the presidential primaries Tuesday in Mississippi.

The Clinton win continues the former secretary of state’s strong performance in the South, fueled by the heavy support of African-American voters.

Trump gained a huge margin among Republicans who wanted a candidate who “tells it like it is,” while Ted Cruz ran strong among people who identify as very conservative and those wanting a candidate who shares their values, according to early results of exit polls conducted by Edison Research for The Associated Press and television networks.

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Early results of the exit polls also showed black voters overwhelmingly chose Clinton over Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. She also won a sizeable majority among white voters, who were about a third of overall Democratic primary voters Tuesday.

Before Tuesday, Clinton had won primaries in every state that neighbors Mississippi.

Cassandra Welchlin, 42, of Jackson, is director of the Mississippi Women’s Economic Security Initiative. She said she was voting for Clinton because she believes Clinton will be a champion for the causes her group supports.

“I represent women across the state, women’s issues around women’s economic security and around access to affordable child care, living wages, higher wages, equal pay,” Welchlin said outside the Capitol in Jackson. “And I just believe Hillary will represent those issues and has been representing those issues for women across the country. And I would like to see a woman president.”

Jim Owen, 74, of Bay St. Louis, said he believes Trump’s detractors are listening but not getting the message.

“He doesn’t say wrong things,” Owen said outside a beachside church where he voted in the Republican primary. “He says them incorrectly.”

Owen knows something about presentation. He moved to the Mississippi Gulf Coast from Branson, Missouri, last year after a long career as a country music singer and songwriter. He wrote the hit “Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man,” among others. His GOP dream ticket would be Trump at the top with Texas Sen. Ted Cruz as his running mate.

“I’d like to see them run together, but I don’t think it will happen because I don’t think they like each other enough,” Owen said.

Mississippi was awarding 40 Republican and 36 Democratic delegates in the presidential race. The state also had three U.S. House primaries on Tuesday. Republican incumbents were challenged in two districts — the 1st District in the north and 3rd District in the central part of the state. A Democratic primary was also being held in the 3rd District.

Trump and Cruz campaigned in Mississippi on Monday, and John Kasich was in the state last week. Marco Rubio has not personally campaigned in the state, but like other candidates he is promoting local endorsements. Republican Gov. Phil Bryant endorsed Cruz on Monday.

Clinton and Sanders concentrated on Michigan, which also had primaries Tuesday. Former President Bill Clinton campaigned for his wife last week in Jackson.

Jennifer Joy Jameson, 29, a folklorist from Jackson, described herself as “a person of faith.”

“That informs my vote for Bernie Sanders because I believe Bernie’s platform is one that embraces all Americans, all different types of folks, and that is essential to progress in our nation,” Jameson said outside the state Capitol.

Because Mississippi ballots were set weeks ago, they still contained names of candidates who have dropped out of the race for the White House. That issue prompted several inquiries by voters, Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann’s office said in a news release.