By Robbie Ward
TUPELO – Voters in Northeast Mississippi’s 1st Congressional District now have another option in the general election besides two-term incumbent Alan Nunnelee.
Nunnelee, a 55-year-old Republican from Tupelo, can expect the same opponent from two years ago who described the congressman’s voting record as liberal on federal spending and mushy toward decreasing the size of government.
Libertarian candidate Danny Bedwell of Columbus will mount another long-shot campaign to win the Nov. 4 election.
No other candidates have announced intentions to seek the congressional seat that covers 22 counties. The deadline to file qualifying papers to join the race is 5 p.m. March 1. The party primary is June 3 and the general election Nov. 4.
Bedwell, 54, plans a David-and-Goliath campaign after placing third in the same congressional election in 2012. He mustered 3,584 votes, or 1.2 percent of total votes cast.
The challenger attributes his previous loss to political inexperience and limited resources. Bedwell refuses to accept contributions from political action committees.
Bedwell accepted a total of $3,796 in contributions for the 2012 election, a strong contrast to the $428,049 raised by Nunnelee who received about 58 percent of his financial support from PACs.
This year likely will show a similar fundraising trend, but Bedwell remains optimistic.
“Maybe it’s the romantic in me, but I think times are changing,” he said. “With the invention of the Internet and all of the social media sites, it takes less to run a campaign.”
Bedwell’s priorities include a wish list of dismantling the federal government’s resources. He supports repealing the federal income tax, shutting down the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and eliminating the National Security Agency.
“I’m the true limited-government guy in this race,” he said.
Bedwell points to the federal government’s $17.4 trillion deficit as a reason to mark his name on the ballot.
“Democrats and Republicans blame each other,” he said. “I agree; it’s both their faults.”
Nunnelee may not support limiting government as much his opponent, but has one of the most conservative voting records among the 435 members of the U.S. House of Representatives. The government transparency website, GovTrack.us, identifies Nunnelee as a “lonely far-right Republican” based on his voting record.
Nunnelee, who won the office in 2010 by defeating Democratic incumbent Travis Childers, had Republican primary opposition that year and ran as an incumbent in 2012.