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Miss. insurance head Dale loses primary bid


JACKSON, Miss.--Mississippi Insurance Commissioner George Dale narrowly lost his re-election bid for a ninth term in the Democratic primary election Tuesday.

Major factors in his defeat were "(Hurricane) Katrina and Dickie Scruggs," Mr. Dale said.

Richard "Dickie" Scruggs, whose law firm represents hundreds of homeowners in lawsuits against insurers, was a major donor to a political action committee that ran advertisements attacking Mr. Dale for failing to make insurers pay more hurricane-related claims and for allowing them to raise rates.

Mr. Dale, a Democrat who has been in office for 32 years, also faced some opposition from local Democrats, who challenged his right to run on the party ticket because of his close ties to Republicans. The Democrats' opposition "had some effect. It made it difficult from day one," said Mr. Dale, who obtained a court order allowing him to run as a Democrat.

Gary Anderson, the Democratic primary winner, is a former state fiscal officer.