David Baria trounced Howard Sherman Tuesday in the run-off for the Mississippi Democratic nomination for a seat in the U.S. Senate. Statewide, with 95% of the votes counted, Baria had a lead of 59 percent over Sherman’s 41 percent.
Baria also beat Sherman in Union County, but by a narrower margin. Baria won 51.12% of the ballots in Union County compared to 47.76% for Sherman.
Baria, a Mississippi native, is a state representative from Bay St. Louis and has also served in the state senate.
Sherman’s claim to fame is that he is married to television actress Sela Ward, who is from Meridian. Sherman, a California native, had been a resident of that state until a year or so ago. Presuming he voted for himself in the first primary, it would have been the first ballot he had ever cast in a Mississippi election.
Baria will face incumbent Republican U.S. Senator Roger Wicker in the November general election.
The voter turnout was very low statewide and Union County was no exception. Union County has 15,228 registered voters but only 268 people — 1.77% of all the registered voters in the county — showed up for the run-off election at the county’s 20 polling places. Holding the Democratic primary election runoff in Union County cost taxpayers about $6,000, which works out to $22.39 per vote.
It must be said that far more Union County people voted in the June 6th Republican Senate primary than in the Democratic contest. There were 1,489 Republican votes in the June 6th Republican primary compared to just 308 Democratic votes for U.S. Senator.
Neither Baria nor Sherman did any significant campaigning in Union County.
The results of this election may show once again that money isn’t everything in Mississippi politics.
Baria had raised campaign funds of less than $300,000 as of the first primary on June 6th. Sherman had accumulated a campaign war chest of $850,00. He had given $650,00 of his own money to his senate campaign and had raised about $200,000 in other campaign funds, most of it from donors in California and New York.
Sherman declined to endorse Baria in the general election when he conceded defeat about 9 p.m. Tuesday evening in Meridian.