SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) – The election that's gotten the most attention this campaign season has been the race for the Fourth District Congressional seat, and for good reason. Gene Taylor, Steven Palazzo, and their parties and supporters have spent well over a million dollars on ads that spotlight this ever-tightening race.
Just hours before voters headed to the polls, Democrat incumbent Gene Taylor spent part of his Monday in George County talking with business leaders. Taylor knows he's in a battle with Republican challenger Steven Palazzo and this is not the time to let up.
"I've never taken any race for granted. I encourage everyone to get out and vote. We want to get them out there," Taylor said.
George County could play a pivotal role on Tuesday because a hotly contested Sheriffs race is expected to create heavy voter turnout. Also people in that area rely on jobs at the shipyard in Pascagoula, a fact Taylor said is very important in this part of the district.
"You want to localize it. Here where so many people work at the shipyard, you want to remind them no matter who owns that shipyard, I'm going to be there to go to bat for them," Taylor said.
It's no coincidence Taylor spent the day before the election visiting with the George County group.
"I've been coming to this rotary the day before the election for 21 years. It's a good luck stop," said Taylor with a smile on his face.
Gene Taylor has stayed on message regardless of where he is in the 4th Congressional District.
"After the hurricane, I was there for you. If your son is in Iraq or Afghanistan and they needed something, I got it for them. If the question is, 'Who do you trust?' The answer is, 'Gene Taylor.'"
"We gave him our trust, we gave him our voice and he gave that voice to Nancy Pelosi," Taylor's challenger Steven Palazzo said.
The Republican candidate spent the last day before the election meeting voters in Vancleave. Palazzo stayed on message saying the South Mississippians he's met are eager to send a more conservative representative to Washington.
"I've served my country in the Persian Gulf wars in the Marines. I'm a member of the VFW and I've served with my unit at Camp Shelby from 2004 to 2005."
Besides his military service, Palazzo pointed to his own record of creating actual jobs as a Biloxi small business owner and as a Representative in the State House. He said he feels votes in Congress have brought South Mississippi down the wrong path.
"I think this real election is basically a referendum on Congressman Taylor's support of Nancy Pelosi and the liberal, you know, job killing agenda that they've put forth the past two years."
Of course, the Congressional race isn't the only one WLOX News will cover on this election night. Our crews will be in Waveland, where city primaries are being held. The question there is whether incumbent Mayor Tommy Longo will be unseated.
We'll also be in Lucedale where 11 people are running to become George County's next sheriff.
WLOX.com will have up to the minute election results from those races, plus all the judicial elections. And we'll have live reports and analysis on WLOX News throughout the evening. Stay with us for what promises to be a very interesting 2010 Vote