MOBILE, Ala - Republicans appear to hold the majority in the Mississippi state House of Representatives for the first time since the post-Civil War era, following last week's general election, a party official said on Monday.
Although results have not yet been certified in all races, Mississippi Republican Party Chairman Arnie Hederman said Monday that his party had been credited with wins in at least 63 seats.
That is one more than the party needed to wrest majority control from Democrats for the first time in 140 years.
State Representative Donnie Bell's announcement after the election that he was switching political parties to become a Republican brings that party's total count in the House to 64 seats compared with Democrats' 58 seats.
Hederman said he was confident the majority would hold steady after the final vote counts were tendered.
"We've looked at the numbers, and they're just not there for the Democrats," Hederman told Reuters.
Rickey Cole, executive director of the Mississippi Democratic Party, could not be reached for comment on Monday.
The Mississippi Secretary of State's office said it could not confirm any results, which were anticipated to be finalized by Friday. Individual counties have 10 days after an election to certify their results and submit them to that office.
Republican Phil Bryant also won his gubernatorial bid on Nov. 8, succeeding incumbent Republican Governor Haley Barbour, who could not run again because of term limits.
The Mississippi legislature convenes on Jan. 3. The power shift, which gives Republicans the majority in both chambers of the legislature, sends a strong message to the political establishment, Hederman said.
"Mississippians, obviously, want a conservative government," he said.
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