Dearing says he has enough votes to win District 37 senate seat

Published 9:03 pm Tuesday, November 10, 2015

NATCHEZ — After a count of affidavit ballots in Pike County Tuesday, former District 37 Sen. Bob Dearing is tentatively claiming he’s been re-elected four years after he was voted out of office.

Dearing, D-Natchez, previously served the district from 1980 to 2011, when Republican Melanie Sojourner of Natchez defeated him.

In the count of Pike County’s affidavit ballots, Dearing received 32 votes, while Sojourner received 33.

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The results aren’t yet official, but based on numbers from the Sojourner campaign, that would put Dearing receiving 8,188 total votes, while Sojourner received 8,126.

That puts him in a 62-vote lead. Based on his own count, Dearing has a 59-vote lead.

“I just want to thank everyone for their support and their prayers,” Dearing said. “When I qualified Feb. 22, my prayers that night were to ask God for his guidance during his election campaigns, and with God’s guidance he has brought me through it. I want to thank everyone who voted for me. I am going to be a senator for every one in District 37, including those who didn’t vote for me.”

In a statement to supporters Tuesday night, Sojourner did not concede the election but acknowledged the apparent lead of her opponent while saying she and her team were watching for election irregularities.

“Make no mistake, I was willing to give up our senate seat, if it meant doing the right thing; and I would have never surrendered your conservative principles just for the sake of being reelected,” Sojourner said.  “Sacrifice is often required to advance the cause of liberty and Constitutional government, so we must have the courage to view this fight with our eyes toward the horizon, recognizing that lasting change is seldom achieved in a four-year political cycle.

“To save our republic, we must become bigger than we have been:  more courageous, greater in faith, larger in our outlook.  For the sake of our children, the future begins now.

“With that said, there have been glaring examples with the process in this election that are deeply troubling, and voters and volunteers are working to be certain that the integrity of this election has not been compromised.  We must be sure that any and all votes were legally cast and legally accepted.

“Notwithstanding this ongoing process, we acknowledge that we currently lack the number of votes for conservative Republicans to hold on to the District 37 Senate seat.”

Sojourner said this was not the end for her, regardless of the final outcome.

“Whatever plans God may have for me, I promise to continue my fight against liberalism and to restore American exceptionalism and liberty-based conservatism to the Republican Party and Mississippi,” she said.

“I promised you I would fight four years ago, and I delivered on that promise.  But more importantly, I promise to still be fighting four years from now.”

Dearing said he wanted to congratulate the Sojourner campaign for a hard-fought battle.

“Sen. Sojourner served four years, and she has a lot of friends out there who really appreciate the work she did, and I want to tell her, ‘Job well done,’ on her part, and I wish her well,” he said.

Dearing said he wanted to thank his wife Shelly and his daughters Daye and Paige for standing with him through the campaign.

“They never lost faith, they knew I was going to win, and they never let me get discouraged even though there were some discouraging moments,” he said. “My family has always come first with me and always stood by me thick and thin all these years.”