Candidates face crowded field in primaryBy MARLAN JONES,
Elections for 2018 in Mississippi will begin on June 5 with primary elections when Simpson County voters will participate in primaries held for the office of United States Senate and for the US House of Representatives Third Congressional District.
Republican incumbent Roger Wicker will be seeking reelection to his office in the Senate. This is a regularly scheduled Class I Senate race. Wicker will be opposed by Richard Warren Boyanton in the Republican primary. Several Democratic candidates have emerged in hopes of gaining the seat. David Baria, Jensen Bohren, Jerone Garland, Victor G. Maurice Jr., Omeria Scott, and Howard Sherman will face off in the Democratic primary.
Shawn O’Hara will represent the Reform Party and Danny Bedwell will represent the Libertarian Party for a total of 10 candidates running for this Senate office.
Due to former Senator Thad Cochran stepping down on April 1, a special election will be held for the Class II Senate seat. Former Mississippi Sec. of Agriculture Cindy Hyde-Smith was appointed to the seat by Governor Phil Bryant to serve as an interim until the special election set for November 6 in conjunction with the general. The special election will be nonpartisan and five candidates have qualified, Tobey Bartee, Mike Espy, Cindy Hyde-Smith, Chris McDaniel, and Jason Shelton.
Cochran held the position for nearly 40 years.
The seat in the US House of Representative Third Congressional District is also up for grabs. Congressman Gregg Harper has held this position since 2009 but announced that he would not seek re-election in January of this year.
Nine candidates have qualified for this office. Michael Aycox and Michael Ted Evans will face each other in the Democratic Primary. Sally Doty, Morgan Dunn, Michael Guest, Whit Hughes, Perry Parker, and Katherine Bitzi Tate will battle in the Republican Primary.
Primary elections will be held on June 5.
Matthew Holland will represent the Reform Party in the general election on November 6.
Former State Rep. Andy Gipson was recently named as the Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce. Gipson will serve the remainder of Cindy Hyde-Smith’s term, which will end in 2020. Gipson vacated his seat as Representative for District 77 in the Mississippi House of Congress.
A special election will determine who will represent District 77. Assistant Secretary of State Leah Smith explained that the special election will be set by writ of the governor. According to MS Code 23-15-851 within 30 days after the vacancies occur in either house of the Legislature the governor shall issue writs of election to fill the vacancies on a day specified in the writ of election. At least 40 days’ notice shall be given of the election in each county in which the election shall be held. The qualifying deadline for the election shall be 30 days prior to the election. The election will be conducted as a general election.
Governor Phil Bryant issued a writ of election on April 14 to fill the vacancy. The special election will be held on July 10. The qualifying deadline for the special election will be May 21. If no candidate receives a majority of the votes cast in the special election, a runoff shall be held on July 31.
To qualify for the Mississippi House of Representatives the candidate must be a registered voter, at least 21 years old, and a resident of the state for at least four years. The candidate must be a resident of the district represented for two years before the election.
District 77 encompasses Simpson and parts of Rankin County. Four candidates from Simpson County have declared themselves in the race thus far-- Price Wallace, Chris Purdum, Cemper Scott, and Cliff Brown. Hayes Patrick of Puckett in Rankin County is also running for the position.