Following the disqualification of two Democratic candidates seeking to become Mississippi’s next governor, Secretary of State Michael Watson is questioning the merit of the party’s decision to remove them from the race.
The Mississippi Democratic Party recently disqualified gubernatorial candidates Gregory Wash and Bob Hickingbottom from pursuing the state’s highest elected office.
According to the party’s executive committee, the two candidates failed to file statements of economic interest to the Mississippi Ethics Commission, which the committee claims is required under state law.
During a Wednesday interview on The Gallo Show, Watson disputed the notion that a candidate is required to file such documents in order to be qualified to run for state office.
“By statute, that is not a requirement to be qualified to run for office,” Watson said. “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.”
The Mississippi Secretary of State’s 2023 Candidate Qualifying Guidelines states, “All elected officials (excluding federal office holders, levee commissioners and election commissioners), appointed officials and candidates seeking office are required to electronically file a statement of economic interest with the Mississippi Ethics Commission.”
Additionally, the guidelines note that candidates for elected office must file within 15 days of qualifying and incumbents must file each and every year on or before May 1.
The disqualifications, if not overruled via appeal, will officially make Brandon Presley the Democratic nominee for governor.
The full interview with Watson can be watched below.