Mississippi candidates qualify for midterm federal elections

March 2, 2018

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Slates of candidates are set for U.S. House and Senate in Mississippi, with Democrats running in every contest and Republicans running in all but one. The races attracting the most activity are for a House seat without an incumbent and a Senate seat held by the same Republican for a decade.

Thursday was the candidates’ qualifying deadline for the midterm congressional elections. Party primaries are June 5, with runoffs June 26. The general election is Nov. 6.

Republican U.S. Rep. Gregg Harper announced in January that he won’t seek re-election, saying a decade of service in Washington was enough. Six Republicans and two Democrats are running in the 3rd District, which makes a diagonal across the central part of the state from Natchez to Starkville.

State Rep. Michael Ted Evans of Preston filed papers Thursday to run for the 3rd District as a Democrat. Another Democrat, Newton police officer Michael Aycox said Thursday that he filed his own papers in early February.

The six Republicans in the 3rd District race had filed well before the deadline. They are state Sen. Sally Doty of Brookhaven, businesswoman Morgan Dunn of Magee, district attorney Michael Guest of Brandon, businessman Whit Hughes of Madison, businessman Perry Parker of Seminary and former school administrator Katherine “Bitzy” Tate of Jackson.

Just before Thursday’s deadline, Democratic state Rep. Omeria Scott of Laurel filed to run for U.S. Senate, joining five other Democrats in the race for the seat held by Republican Roger Wicker. President Donald Trump is endorsing Wicker, who has been in the Senate since 2007. Wicker faces two challengers for the Republican nomination.

“Republicans are best equipped to address the needs facing Mississippians, and our voters continue to make that clear at the ballot box,” state GOP chairman Lucien Smith said in a statement.

State Democratic Party chairman Bobby Moak said: “Democrats continue to ask, ‘If the breadwinner loses their job today, can they find a new one tomorrow right here at home? When students graduate, will they find a job at home?’ If the answer is no, then it’s time to join with Democrats who have plans to fix those problems.”

Two of Mississippi’s U.S. House incumbents, Republican Trent Kelly in the northern 1st District and Democrat Bennie Thompson in the Delta-to-Jackson 2nd District, are unopposed within their own parties but each faces one challenger in the general election. In the southern 4th District, Republican incumbent Steven Palazzo faces one primary challenger, and the Republican nominee will face a Democrat in November.

In the 3rd District race, Evans, 45, is a retired firefighter and has been a legislator since 2012. He said he supports gun rights, the “sanctity of human life,” the military, law enforcement officers and emergency responders.

“It is time for serious leadership and representation in Washington, D.C. I believe my background as a firefighter, a farmer and a state legislator has prepared me to represent citizens of the Third Congressional District,” Evans said in a statement Thursday.

Aycox, 30, is a military veteran who said Congress has too many millionaires.

“It’s time for some fresh blood in D.C.,” Aycox told The Associated Press in an interview Thursday.

It has been more than 15 years since a Democrat represented any part of the current 3rd District.


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

Update hourly