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Fitch wins GOP nomination for Mississippi attorney general

Lynn Fitch (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis) and Andy Taggart (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

JACKSON, Miss. — Second-term state Treasurer Lynn Fitch won the Republican nomination for Mississippi attorney general on Tuesday, defeating former gubernatorial chief of staff Andy Taggart in a primary runoff.

Fitch now advances to the Nov. 5 general election to face Democrat Jennifer Riley Collins, 53, of Clinton, a military veteran and former director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Mississippi.

Because Fitch and Collins are the only candidates running, Mississippi will elect a woman as attorney general for the first time.

Fitch, 57, of Ridgeland, is in her second term as state treasurer after serving as state Personnel Board director and working as an attorney for state government and in private practice. At her victory party Tuesday night, she thanked supporters for their prayers.

“Together, we have made this happen. Together, we will continue along the path to November, and we’ll win there together,” Fitch said.

Taggart, 62, of Madison, is an attorney in private practice. He was a Madison County supervisor for one term after serving as Republican Gov. Kirk Fordice’s chief of staff in the 1990s.

“I really have no regrets about this,” Taggart told supporters Tuesday night. “The process only works when we do what we did.”

Mississippi rarely has attorney general’s races without an incumbent. The current office holder, Democrat Jim Hood, is wrapping up his fourth term and is his party’s nominee for governor this year. Hood’s predecessor, Democrat Mike Moore, also served four terms.

Fitch has spent the most money in the race. In the Aug. 6 primary, she received 44% of the vote, while Taggart received 29% and state Rep. Mark Baker of Brandon received 27%. Baker endorsed Taggart.

Fitch said her work as an attorney and as leader of two state agencies has prepared her to work as Mississippi’s top legal officer. She campaigned as an ally of President Donald Trump, pointing out that she was chair of a Women For Trump organization in Mississippi in 2016.

Taggart, describing the attorney general’s position as “the toughest job in state government” had said he would fight illegal drugs and prosecute corruption without regard to partisan politics.

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