By Bobby Harrison / Daily Journal Jackson Bureau
JACKSON – Commissioner of Public Safety Steve Simpson said Monday he would be “the most qualified candidate in recent memory” for state attorney general.
Simpson announced at the Mississippi Republican Party headquarters in Jackson he would challenge incumbent Jim Hood, a Chickasaw County native and a Democrat, for the post.
Simpson said the race would be “about character and personality.” When asked if he was referring to Hood’s character, Simpson said no, but was only making reference to his own.
Simpson, a Gulfport resident, previously served as circuit court judge, appointed to the post in December 2000 by then-Gov. Ronnie Musgrove, a Democrat. He later ran two times unopposed for the circuit judge post.
In May 2008, Gov. Haley Barbour appointed Simpson commissioner of Public Safety. In that post, he oversees the Highway Patrol, Narcotics Division and other parts of the law enforcement apparatus.
He served as an assistant district attorney on the Gulf Coast before being appointed a circuit judge.
“My campaign for attorney general will focus on the concerns of all Mississippians and will include fighting overreaching federal mandates, aggressively prosecuting public corruption, and standing up for all Mississippians as their consumer advocate,” Simpson said in a news release.
Party primaries are Aug. 2 and the general election is Nov. 7. Simpson so far is the only Republican candidate in the attorney general’s race.
Simpson was scheduled to make a campaign announcement in Tupelo on Monday afternoon, but that event was canceled because of the weather. A spokesperson said the Tupelo appearance would be rescheduled.
In a news release, Hood campaign manager Jonathan Compretta said, “There will be enough time to campaign in the spring and summer. Right now Attorney General Jim Hood is focused on his job,” which Compretta said includes protecting children from predators, fighting for victims of crimes and serving as a consumer advocate.
Simpson is married to the former Elizabeth Bost, previously of Pontotoc. They have three children.
Contact Bobby Harrison at (601) 353-3119 or firstname.lastname@example.org.