Monsour tops Sadler in House 54|[08/08/07]

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Vicksburg attorney and first-time candidate W. Briggs Hopson III handily won the Republican nomination to a state Senate seat Tuesday and was pleased, but said he felt assured of nothing.

Hopson said he had no expectation of the wide margin of his victory and plans to maintain the same focus in campaigning as he advances to face Democrat Eric Rawlings in the general election.

&#8220In a campaign, you don’t even listen to what you’re own people tell you because it’s only what you want to hear,” Hopson said.

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Hopson outraised and outspent his primary opponents, steering much of his war chest on print and billboard advertisements in order to be the next senator from District 23, which includes all of Warren and Issaquena counties and a sliver of Yazoo.

The seat became available when two-term Sen. Mike Chaney opted to run for the statewide post of insurance commissioner.

Final but unofficial districtwide results gave Hopson 60 percent of the vote to 26 percent for state Rep. Chester Masterson, who gave up his House seat after two terms to seek the Senate seat, and retired state trooper James &#8220Buddy” Terrell, who polled 14 percent.

In the quest for Masterson’s seat, the third time was the charm for businessman Alex Monsour as GOP voters in House District 54 chose him by a wide margin to have him as their nominee in the Nov. 6 general election.

Unofficial results from the district’s 14 precincts in Warren County show Monsour with 61 percent of the vote to Ryan Sadler’s 39 percent.

The district also includes Issaquena County and a slice of Sharkey County, neither of which have many Republican voters. Specifically, Monsour won 3-2 in Sharkey and it was a 1-1 tie in Issaquena.

Monsour advances to face Democrat Jennifer Thomas and independent Tom Setser in general election voting on Nov. 6.

Monsour defeated Sadler handily despite a slight drop in voter turnout compared to the 2003 primaries in Warren County.

Out of 35,550 names on poll books, 9,314 people, or 26.2 percent voted Tuesday. In 2003, 27.4 percent turned out and in 1999 about 31 percent cast ballots.

Monsour ran unsuccessfully for the Republican nomination to the seat in 2003, losing to Rep. Chester Masterson, and also lost a District 1 supervisor race in 1999.

This time, Monsour said, he ran on the issues people were concerned about.

A particular emphasis was placed on improving quality of life in Vicksburg and Warren County through working to bring more entertainment venues.

&#8220We came out on the issues,” he said. &#8220Families are tired of not having them.”

Attorney and fellow Vicksburg native Ryan Sadler was gracious in defeat but reflective on some of the differences between the two campaigns.

&#8220We offered two different things to the community,” Sadler said.

Sadler’s campaign earned the disfavor of the Mississippi Right To Life in the last two weeks. All four candidates in the race had received &#8220recommendation” letters from the political action committee of the pro-life organization. Sadler’s was withdrawn after he called it an endorsement and failed to say it was from the PAC, not Mississippi Right to Life itself. To maintain tax-exempt status, charities cannot make political endorsements directly.

Both Sadler and Monsour raised nearly $40,000 in contributions, with Monsour contributing $35,000 to his own effort.