Three Republican candidates will be on the primary ballot June 1 vying for their party's nomination to face incumbent Democratic Congressman Travis Childers of Booneville in the Nov. 2 general election. Seven other independent and minor party candidates will also be on the November ballot.
The Daily Journal last week began stepped-up coverage of the race. We published editorial board interviews of candidates Angela McGlowan, Alan Nunnelee and Henry Ross and followed them up in Sunday's paper with individual profiles of each candidate. In addition to coverage of debates and other daily news stories, the Journal will publish the candidates' answers to our questionnaire in the Sunday, May 23 edition.
All of this is designed to help the voters of Northeast Mississippi make a more informed choice.
The race in the 24-county 1st Congressional District is part of the bi-annual American rite of freedom in which we choose who represents us in Washington. Every two years the entire membership of the U.S. House of Representatives and one-third of the Senate is up for election.
This year the stakes are particularly high - not to mention the emotions - and the 1st District will be one of the closely watched contests nationally. Childers, a conservative Democrat, will be targeted by national Republican strategists who believe this district is a natural for the GOP to recapture as it seeks to regain control of Congress.
The Republican contest has been spirited, and hardly a love fest. Full unity coming out of the primary isn't guaranteed, and a divisive primary hurt the GOP in 2008 when Childers captured the seat.
A lot has happened since then, including intensified partisanship in Washington and growing public disaffection with both parties back home.
The release valve that people have is the ballot box. That's the way our system works.
The June 1 Republican primary is open, meaning any registered voter can go to the polls that day. Childers has no Democratic opposition, so there won't be a Democratic primary.
This year's primary may catch some voters off-guard since it comes right after the Memorial Day weekend. If you're going to be out of town, now is the time to cast an absentee ballot through your circuit clerk's office.
The 2010 congressional race is too important to forget, or simply to brush off. Good citizenship - not to mention the proverbial right to complain - requires participation as your conscience dictates.