Incumbents from region face battles

JACKSON – Few incumbent Northeast Mississippi legislators escaped Wednesday’s qualifying deadline without picking up opposition for this year’s elections.
One of the more notable candidates to escape opposition is District 14 state Rep. Margaret Ellis Rogers, R-New Albany. Rogers switched parties earlier this year, and party switchers usually garner opposition.
A handful of other area incumbents, including Rep. Jerry Turner, R-Baldwyn, were as fortunate as Rogers in being without an opponent, but most were not.
Perhaps the biggest surprise from Wednesday’s final round of qualifying was that former state Rep. Jamie Franks, D-Mooreville, will be vying to recapture the District 19 state House post.
Franks held the post for three terms before giving it up in 2007 to run unsuccessfully for lieutenant governor. He is currently the chair of the state Democratic Party and said he would retain that post while running for his old legislative seat.
“There is precedent for doing that,” Franks explained late Wednesday. He said Gloria Williamson of Philadelphia was state Democratic chair when running for the Senate.
Franks will be vying to oust incumbent Mark DuVall, D-Mantachie. But they will have other competition. Brad Underwood of Mantachie is running as a Democrat while Randy Boyd and Alan Sheffield, both of Mantachie, are running as Republicans for the District 19 post.
Both Republicans and Democratic officials have been working in recent weeks to secure viable candidates in attempts to booster their numbers in the House and Senate.
Both sides claimed victory Wednesday night.
“We are poised for historic gains this November thanks to the many great Republican candidates who have chosen to serve their communities this year,” said state Republican Party Chair Arnie Hederman.
Travis Brock, interim executive director of the state Democratic Party said, “We are confident that with this slate of candidates, Democrats will maintain our majority in the House and pick up seats in the Senate.”
Democrats currently hold a 69-53 advantage in the House while Republicans have a 27-24 edge in the Senate with one vacancy.
The party primary election is Aug. 2. The general election is Nov. 8.
Contact Bobby Harrison at (601) 353-3119 or bobby.harrison@journalinc.com.

Bobby Harrison/NEMS Daily Journal