State Sen. Barack Obama, a former civil rights lawyer seeking to become just the third black U.S. senator in a century, easily won the Democratic primary Tuesday, setting up a high-stakes fall race with Republican Jack Ryan that could decide who controls the Senate.
Obama, 42, had 582,283 votes, or 54 percent, to 244,211 votes, or 23 percent, for state Comptroller Dan Hynes, with 85 percent of precincts reporting.
Ryan, a millionaire investment banker-turned-teacher, defeated seven other candidates to capture the GOP nomination. Ryan had 173,716 votes, or 36 percent, to 111,887, or 23 percent, for his closest rival.
In Alexander County, five people were competing for county commission. On the Republican side, Rodney Brown of McClure had 71 votes to 57 votes for Angela Greenwell of rural Cairo, with seven of 11 precincts reporting. Among Democratic candidates, incumbent John A. "Andy" Clarke of Olive Branch had 574 votes, Dorothy Mayberry of Cairo 211 and Cheryle Dillon of McClure 84.
There were three uncontested races: Democratic incumbents Sharon McGinness, Jeffery Farris and David Barkett running for circuit clerk, state's attorney and coroner, respectively.