Palazzo defeats former Dem in primary

Greg Nash

Rep. Steven Palazzo (R-Miss.) beat back a primary challenge from former Democratic Rep. Gene Taylor in a race that took until Wednesday afternoon to decide.

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Palazzo had 53 percent support to Taylor’s 43 percent support in the GOP primary when the Associated Press called the race. 

For much of Tuesday night, there remained a slim possibility that the primary could head to a runoff, but the final margin shifted little when all ballots were in.

Taylor, a former 10-term Democratic congressman, lost in the 2010 GOP wave year and hoped the relationships and popularity he built over his two decades in the House could help him overcome the disadvantage he faced from switching to the Republican Party to run.

But Taylor was heavily outspent by Palazzo, who attacked him for his vote for Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) as speaker of the House, among others. Palazzo was likely also boosted by Republican Senate candidate Chris McDaniel, who won the district in his contentious primary challenge to Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) that, by Wednesday afternoon, was still too close to call.

Palazzo is expected to easily retain his seat this fall.