The field of candidates running for the Mississippi legislature and statewide office this year is now set. The deadline to qualify was this past Friday. MPB's Jasmine Ellis reports.
All eight of Mississippi's statewide elected officials along with the state's 174 legislative seats are up for election this year. The top of the ticket could feature the most competitive governor's race since 2003, with Democratic Attorney General Jim Hood facing Republican Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves. Each man will have to get past some serious challengers. Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith along with retired Jackson State University employee Velesha P. Williams are challenging Hood in the Democratic field.
Bobby Moak is chairman of the Mississippi Democratic Party. He says the Party's strategy to winning statewide will include asking the Republican Party to face the truth on many issues.
"Why they have continued to do the things that they've done so that 61 percent of our central rural hospitals are in financial peril," said Moak. "Why they have been failing to fund our education efforts at the local level."
In the GOP race for Governor -- former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Bill Waller Jr. and state Rep. Robert Foster of Hernando will try to upset Lt. Governor Tate Reeves.
Lucien Smith is chairman of the Mississippi Republican Party. He says his party's winning strategy will include reminding voters what the Party has done.
"We're going to continue to spreading the Republican message talking about unemployment being at the lowest level that it's been historically," said Smith. "Talk about taxes that have been reduced at the state and the federal level. And talking about how education at its highest funding level under Republican leadership."
Voters will also elect a new lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state and treasurer. Party Primaries are August 6 and the general election is November 5.
**UPDATE: Other candidates for Governor who qualified by Friday's deadline are Democrats: William Bond Compton Jr, Michael Brown, Robert J. Ray, Gregory Wash, Phillip West and Albert Wilson. One Independent candidate: David R. Singletary and for the Constitution party: Bob Hickingbottom.