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Democratic Party appeals decision to reinstate Hickingbottom as governor candidate

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The Mississippi Democratic Party is appealing a Hinds County Circuit Court judge’s decision to reinstate gubernatorial candidate Bob Hickingbottom on the ballot.

Hickingbottom, who is challenging party frontrunner Brandon Presley in the primaries, was removed from the ballot by party officials in February over a failure to submit a statement of economic interest (SOEI) to the Mississippi Ethics Commission.

After being disqualified, Hickingbottom, represented by attorney John R. Reeves, took his case to the Hinds County Circuit Court to be heard by Judge Forrest Johnson.

Reeves argued that the former candidate was unlawfully removed from the race, stating that SOEIs have never been a criterion for qualifying candidates, a claim validated by Mississippi Secretary of State Michael Watson.

“By statute, that is not a requirement to be qualified to run for office,” Watson said on The Gallo Show. “They can clearly file that, and have some deadlines to meet that, but you don’t have to do that to be qualified to run for office.”

Johnson ruled in Hickingbottom’s favor, placing the formerly disqualified candidate back into the race to see who will represent the Democratic Party in the battle to hold the state’s highest office. Now, the party has gone to Mississippi’s highest court to appeal Johnson’s decision to reinstate Hickingbottom.

The Mississippi Supreme Court on Tuesday issued an order for both Hickingbottom’s representatives and the state’s Democratic Party to file necessary paperwork by Wednesday to speed up the appeal process as absentee voting for the August 8 primary elections is rapidly approaching.

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