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GOP runoff for Mississippi’s 2nd Congressional District to take place Tuesday

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Photo by SuperTalk Mississippi News

Mississippi will have one congressional primary runoff on Tuesday, April 2, with two candidates vying for the Republican nomination for U.S. House District 2.

The race, which features Ron Eller and Andrew Smith, will put the winner head-to-head on Nov. 5 against longtime Democratic Congressman Bennie Thompson. Thompson, who has become a brand name in Washington, is seeking a 16th term.

Eller and Smith, on the other hand, are both looking to break into the political scene as neither has ever held office. After failing to secure the GOP nomination back in 2022, this is the closest Eller has been to going up against Thompson. The West Virginia native who has called Mississippi home for over two decades is a small business owner and works as a cardiothoracic physician assistant at St. Dominic’s Hospital in Jackson. He’s running on what he calls the “E-3 Plan,” which prioritizes education, economics, and energy.

“When we look at education, we need to be teaching people about the greatness of America. We need to get rid of this woke agenda. We need to be training the next group of tradesmen, doctors, lawyers, and businessmen,” Eller said. “We need to improve the economics of not only the entire state of Mississippi but the Delta … We need to be using all our resources and not hamstringing the people and the American economy for a pie-in-the-sky dream.”

Smith, an insurance agent by trade, has been a presence on the campaign trail visiting all 28 counties plus the parts of Hinds and Madison that encompass District 2. His biggest concerns are utilizing the Mississippi River to boost tourism, creating jobs, bettering infrastructure, and completing the ever-lingering Yazoo Pumps Project.

“You’ve got to build the pumps in order to build economic development in that region. Nobody’s going to put millions of dollars into somewhere that’s going to get flooded, right?” Smith said. “So, talking to [voters], they want jobs, they want the roads, and they want somebody that’s going to care about them.”

In the primary election on March 12, Eller received 46.5 percent of the votes while Smith received 35.9 percent. The third candidate, Taylor Turcotte, only received 17.6 percent but has since been outspoken against both of her opponents while also revealing that she does not even live in District 2.

“I can’t bring myself to endorse either of the candidates,” Turcotte wrote on Facebook. “Considering I don’t live in District 2, this runoff doesn’t affect me directly but it cost me $2,500 to enter this race so I feel like I still have skin in the game.”

According to federal law, U.S. House candidates do not have to necessarily live in the district to seek office.

The polls for residents of District 2 will be open on Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Those eligible to participate either had to have voted in the Republican primary or did not cast a ballot during the primary and want to in the run-off. Polling locations can be found here.

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