By Bobby Harrison/NEMS Daily Journal Jackson Bureau
JACKSON – The citizens of House District 36 will not have a representative before the final weeks of the 2013 session, which is slated to end April 7.
On Monday, Gov. Phil Bryant called a special election for March 12 to fill the vacancy left earlier this month in District 36 with the death of Rep. David Gibbs, D-West Point. The district consists of most of Clay and portions of Monroe and Lowndes counties.
The deadline to qualify to seek the post is Feb. 11.
If no candidate obtains a majority vote on March 12, a runoff will be held between the top two vote-getters on April 2.
Elections to fill legislative vacancies are non-partisan meaning candidates do not qualify to run in party primaries. Instead, the candidates run against each other and are not identified by party on the ballot.
Under the law, the governor has 30 days to announce the date of a special election to fill a legislative vacancy, and he must give at least 40 days notice of the special election.
Gibbs died on Jan. 13 at North Mississippi Medical Center in Tupelo after battling cancer.
There are currently 65 Republicans and 56 Democrats in the 122-member chamber. Gibbs, a former Clay County supervisor and farmer, was one of 37 African- American members in the chamber.
District 36 is a 66 percent-majority African-American district according to the 2010 census. It is one of 43 majority black districts in the House.