By Bobby Harrison/NEMS Daily Journal
JACKSON – Rep. Mac Huddleston, R-Pontotoc, completing his first term in the state House, is one of 14 Northeast Mississippi incumbent legislators who will not have an opponent for the Nov. 8 general election.
Rick Spencer of Sherman, a Democrat, was the only candidate to qualify to run against Huddleston. But Spencer dropped out before the state Election Commission approved the sample ballot earlier this month.
In a letter to the Election Commission, Spencer said, “Due to unforeseen circumstances beyond my control, it is necessary for me to withdraw my candidacy.” The Election Commission accepted Spencer’s withdrawal.
Other Northeast Mississippi House members who will run unopposed are:
Jerry Turner, R-Baldwyn, in District 18; Brian Aldridge, R-Tupelo, District 17; Margaret Ellis Rogers, R-New Albany, District 14; Preston Sullivan, D-Okolona, District 22; David Gibbs, D-West Point, District 36; Gary Chism R-Columbus, District 37; Tyrone Ellis, D-Starkville, District 38; Kelvin Buck, D-Holly Springs, District 5; Tommy Woods, R-Byhalia, District 52.
House members who face opposition are:
* District 1, incumbent Lester “Bubba” Carpenter, R-Burnsville, vs. Thomas McCarley, D-Iuka.
* District 16, incumbent Steve Holland, D-Plantersville, vs. Ben “Buddy” Coggin III, R-Nettleton.
* District 19, incumbent Mark DuVall, D-Mantachie, vs. Randy Boyd, R-Mantachie.
* District 20, incumbent Jimmy Puckett, D-Amory, vs. Chris Brown, R-Aberdeen.
* District 21, incumbent Donnie Bell, D-Fulton, vs. Deborah Tierce, R-Fulton.
* District 23, incumbent Jim Beckett, R-Bruce, vs. Steve Whitten D-Calhoun City.
Several Northeast Mississippi incumbent House members chose not to seek re-election. Races to fill their vacated seats include:
* District 2, Nick Bain, D-Corinth, and A.L. “Chip” Wood III, R-Corinth, to replace Harvey Moss, D-Corinth.
* District 3, William Tracy Arnold, R-Booneville, and Tommy Cadle D-Booneville, to replace Speaker Billy McCoy, D-Rienzi.
* District 4, James Benefield, R-Ripley, and Jody Steverson, D-Ripley, to replace Greg Ward, D-Ripley.
* District 13, Billy Gray, D-Hickory Flat, and Steve Massengill, R-Hickory Flat, to replace Jack Gadd, D-Hickory Flat.
* District 12, Hollman “Holly” Raney, D-Oxford, and Brad Mayo, R-Oxford, to replace Noal Akins, R-Oxford.
In the Senate, Northeast Mississippi incumbents Hob Bryan, D-Amory; Gray Tollison, D-Oxford; Bennie Turner, D-West Point; and Gary Jackson, R-Weir, will not have opposition.
In the only open seat, Patsy Gregory, R-Okolona, and Russell Jolly, D-Houston, are competing in District 8 to replace Jack Gordon, D-Okolona, who died earlier this year. In Lee County, District 6 incumbent Nancy Collins, R-Tupelo, is facing opposition from Stacy Dale Scott, D-Sherman.
Other competitive Northeast Mississippi Senate races involve incumbent Nickey Browning, D-Ecru, challenged by Betsey Hamilton, R-New Albany in District 3; incumbent Bill Stone, D-Ashland, and Michael Cobb, R-Walnut in District 2; incumbent Eric Powell, D-Corinth, and Rita Parks , R-Corinth in District 4; incumbent J.P. Wilemon Jr., D-Belmont, and Jerry Don Keith, R-Tishomingo, in District 5.