Politics '12: First challenger files against Rep. Nunnelee

By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal

Southaven Tea Party activist Robert Estes became the first Republican on Tuesday to square off against first-term U.S. Rep. Alan Nunnelee of Tupelo.

Not official yet but other likely competitors are:

• Henry Ross of Eupora, a Republican

• Danny Bedwell of Columbus, a Libertarian

Their names come from Lee County political activist Grant Sowell, a local Tea Party spokesman, although Ross has made no secret of his plans.

Sowell said he expects these challengers “to shake things up” during the course of the campaign.

A Tupelo businessman, Sowell said his organization will host a series of candidate forums and a debate before the Nov. 6 general election.

Tuesday marked the first official day to qualify to run for Congress – House and Senate. Jan. 13 is the qualifying deadline.

Nunnelee, a Republican, is expected to file qualifying papers Wednesday.

Estes, 38, operates Estes Grading and Trucking in Southaven. He makes his views known on the website, www.wheresamericasjobs.com, about what America needs to create more jobs.

Ross, an attorney and former Eupora mayor, lost the GOP primary to Nunnelee two years ago. Tuesday, he declined public comment.

Bedwell of Columbus, who’s Facebook page says he’s an operations manager for Reardon Metal, is chairman of the Mississippi Libertarian Party. He did not respond to a Daily Journal inquiry about a potential candidacy.

No word yet on any Democratic Party hopefuls.

Party primaries are March 13 with runoffs April 3, if necessary.

Party nominees, third-party and independent candidates will be on the general election ballot.