Gary Anderson, a political consultant, unseated George Dale, who has been Mississippi’s insurance commissioner for 32 years, in the state’s Democratic primary.
Anderson won 51% of the vote and Dale won 49% of the vote.
Anderson ran unsuccessfully for Mississippi state treasurer in 2003. Before that, he served as Mississippi’s chief fiscal officer from 2000 to 2003. He also has been a banker.
Dale took office on Jan. 1, 1976, and is scheduled to stay in office until January 2008.
Dale says he believes that he is the longest-serving elected Mississippi official and also the longest-serving insurance commissioner.
Anderson will face off in November against state Sen. Michael Chaney, R-Vicksburg, Miss., who won the Republican primary.
Dale says he will not run as an independent candidate because “the people have spoken.”
“Katrina did hurt me,” Dale says.
But “the interesting thing is that we didn’t get killed on the Gulf Coast” despite all of the unfavorable publicity, Dale says.
Dale received 40% of the Gulf Coast vote, down from the usual share of about 60%.
Since Katrina, insurers have paid $8.2 billion on Mississippi coastal claims and $11.9 billion on all Mississippi claims, Dale reports.