By Jack Elliot Jr./The Associated Press
JACKSON — Democrat Jim Hood said Friday he’ll seek a third term as Mississippi attorney general in 2011, ending speculation that he might run for governor.
Hood, a former district attorney from northern Mississippi, was elected attorney general in 2003 and re-elected in 2007. The story was first reported by NEMS360.com by NEMS Daily Journal bureau chief Bobby Harrison.
Hood, 47, said in a statement Friday that he is “fortunate to have a job that allows me to help those who need it the most. That is worth more to my soul than pay.”
“My decision will allow me to continue our hunt for child pornographers and Internet predators; to protect our elderly citizens; and to shield our residents from corporate wrongdoers,” Hood said.
The qualifying deadline for statewide candidates is March 1, 2011.
Steve Simpson, the commissioner of public safety, said last year that he might run for attorney general in 2011. He could not immediately be reached Friday for comment about Hood’s decision.
Simpson is an attorney and was a circuit judge on the Gulf Coast before Gov. Haley Barbour appointed him in 2008 to lead the Department of Public Safety.
Simpson’s father was a longtime Democratic member of the Legislature, and his brother served in the state House as a Republican. Simpson served as a parole officer and as an assistant district attorney before being appointed circuit judge by then-Gov. Ronnie Musgrove, a Democrat.
Barbour is in his second term as governor and can’t run again, so the 2011 governor’s race is expected to attract several candidates.
Democrat Bill Luckett, who’s a Clarksdale attorney; and Republican Dave Dennis, who’s a contractor from Pass Christian, have established political action committees to run for governor.
Republican Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant is expected to run for governor.
Hood said that as attorney general, he intends to finish cases such as the one against Entergy, “while creating an environment that protects Mississippi’s businesses from illegal products that threaten their success.”
Hood filed a lawsuit in December 2009, claiming the New Orleans-based utility and its subsidiaries illegally manipulated the purchase and the sale of electricity to maximize profits. Both sides have issued strong opinions about its merits.