Click to copy
Click to copy

2 Mississippi House leaders defeated in Republican primary

August 8, 2019

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Two leaders in the Mississippi House have lost their reelection bids, falling to opponents in the Republican primary.

Speaker Pro Tempore Greg Snowden of Meridian and Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jeff Smith of Columbus were defeated Tuesday.

Snowden is an attorney and was first elected to the House in 1999. He represents House District 83 in Lauderdale County. As speaker pro tem, he is the second-ranking leader in the 122-member House. He congratulated the candidate who unseated him, Billy Adam Calvert, who is CEO of a business supply company. Calvert is unopposed in the Nov. 5 general election.

“Mr. Calvert will represent all of us,” Snowden said. “He will have my support, and I wish him well.”

Smith is an attorney. He was elected as a Democrat in 1991 and became a Republican in 2011. He represents House District 39 in Lowndes and Monroe counties, and as Ways and Means chairman, he has helped shape tax policy. He was defeated by Dana Underwood McLean, who is a real estate agent and is unopposed in November.

“The elections are over for now and I did not prevail for the first time in a long time,” Smith wrote on Facebook. “I wish my opponent and the winner Godspeed, and all the success in the world.”

Also defeated Tuesday were Republican Rep. William Shirley of Quitman, first elected in 2011; and Democratic Sen. Deborah Dawkins of Pass Christian, first elected in 1999.

Dawkins’ Senate District 48 is entirely in Harrison County. She has been an outspoken advocate of environmental regulation, abortion rights and equal pay for women. She was defeated by Gary Fredericks of Gulfport, who has been president of the city’s NAACP. Fredericks faces Republican Mike Thompson in November.

Shirley represents House District 84 in Clarke, Jasper and Newton counties. After the state’s public universities stopped flying the Mississippi flag because it includes the Confederate battle emblem, Shirley tried unsuccessfully to try to withhold bond money from the universities. He was defeated Tuesday by Tony Smith, a Clarke County supervisor who pledged to push for road construction money and better pay for teachers. Smith faces an independent candidate, Roy May, in November.

Several legislators are facing opponents in Aug. 27 party primary runoffs.

All 122 House seats and all 52 Senate seats are on the ballot this year.


Follow Emily Wagster Pettus: http://twitter.com/EWagsterPettus .

All contents © copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.