Daryl Porter Jr. emerged as the winner of the House District 98 race, with the 28-year-old Summit town councilman set to take over the seat that David Myers has held for the past 24 years.
On Wednesday morning, after the inclusion of absentee and curbside ballots, Porter led Tasha Dillon with 2,253 votes (55 percent) to Dillon’s 1,838 (45 percent). That total includes 2,032 votes in Pike County for Porter and 221 in Walthall County and 1,544 votes for Dillon in Pike County and 294 in Walthall County.
Even with affidavit ballots in Pike County left to be counted, the mathematical possibility of Dillon pulling off a comeback withered.
The race also was impacted by a programming error that affected electronic ballots in at least two voting precincts.
Pike County Election Commissioner chairperson Trudy Berger said Tuesday that the company that programmed some of the ballots made a mistake in the Summit Town Hall and North McComb Baptist Church precincts, with some voters being listed in incorrect House and Senate districts.
That meant some voters who voted in the Republican primary didn’t get to participate in a hotly contested Senate District 37.
Meanwhile, some voters who participated in the Democratic primary and expected to see the Senate District 38 and House District 98 races on the ballots — both of which were expected to be decided in the primary — instead saw less exciting uncontested legislative seats on their ballots.
It’s unclear how many ballots were affected, but the number of countywide returns in those precincts suggest it’s probably not enough for Dillon to overcome a 415-vote deficit.
The outcome of the primary punctuates the political aspirations of both candidates, with Porter having run unsuccessfully for state Senate four years ago and Dillon making her third run for the office, including a disputed 2015 contest that went from the House of Representatives to the Mississippi Supreme Court and Pike County Circuit Court.
Myers’ departure wraps up a four-year term that was overshadowed by Dillon’s challenge of the deciding 2015 Democratic primary and a lengthy military deployment that had him overseas for the majority of the term.
The win for Porter, a practicing personal injury attorney, sets up a special election in Summit, where he was first elected to the town council in 2013.
Porter could not be reached for comment on Wednesday. Dillon said she would issue a statement on the election later.