Incumbent Stacey Pickering, a Republican, defeated Joce Pritchett, who ran as a Democrat, by a 63-36 percent margin with 95 percent of precincts reporting.
“Over the past few months, I have enjoyed traveling this state meeting people, listening to their concerns and learning about their lives,” said Pritchett in a statement that her campaign issued on Tuesday. “Unfortunately tonight we have come up short, but I am so grateful for the support I have received for this campaign.”
The Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund endorsed Pritchett — who was the first openly gay statewide candidate in Mississippi history. LGBT rights advocates throughout the state also supported her campaign.
Pritchett and her wife, Carla Webb, were one of the plaintiff couples in a federal lawsuit the Campaign for Southern Equality, a North Carolina-based advocacy group, filed against Mississippi’s same-sex marriage ban in Oct. 2014.
Roberta Kaplan — who successfully argued against the Defense of Marriage Act before the U.S. Supreme Court in 2013 — represented Pritchett and Webb and the other plaintiff couple, Rebecca Bickett and Andrea Sanders of Harrison County on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
U.S. District Judge Carlton W. Reeves last November struck down the Magnolia State’s same-sex marriage ban. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans in July ordered Mississippi to allow same-sex couples to marry in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in the Obergefell case that extended nuptials to gays and lesbians throughout the country.