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Ware holds slim lead over DuPree for Hub City mayor

HATTIESBURG — Early returns show independent Dave Ware taking a very slim lead over Democratic incumbent Johnny DuPree in a special election for Hattiesburg mayor with absentee votes still uncounted.

The Hattiesburg American said Ware led 6,848 votes to 6,816 for DuPree with all 14 precincts reporting late last night. It said the race remained undecided with 1,055 absentee ballots to be counted.

The contest is a rematch.

DuPree, a Democrat, recorded 37 more votes than Ware, a former city council member, in a June 4 election. But Judge William Coleman called a new election after a mistrial was declared in a suit brought by Ware challenging the outcome. Ware had argued there were irregularities with some ballots and the way some votes were counted.

DuPree has been in office since 2001 and was the 2011 Democratic nominee for governor.

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