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Tupelo Mayor enters Mississippi’s U.S. Senate race

Downtown Tupelo. Photo courtesy of Hue Collins

The race for Senator Thad Cochran’s seat in the U.S. Senate continues to grow as Tupelo Mayor Jason Shelton has become the second Democrat to enter the race.

The Tupelo native has served as Mayor since 2013, and during his announcement with WTVA, he stated that he wants to bring a bipartisan work ethic to Washington in order to get things done.

“The culture in Washington is just so toxic. It’s a win-lose proposition for each party,” Shelton said. “We’ve got to have someone that’s willing to go to Washington and actually roll up their sleeves and work. I think I’ve got a proven track record of doing just that here in my hometown.”

As far as the issues go, Shelton is a Democrat but said that he wants to run on his record of being a “fiscal conservative” while working to create jobs, and an improved quality of life for Mississippians.

“I wouldn’t be running if I didn’t think I could win,” he said. “I think we have a proven record of success here in our city; a record to run on. What I plan on doing, is taking that record all across the state of Mississippi, and introducing myself to the voters.”

Shelton went on to say that while there can be a lot of talk on the campaign trail, he believes it’s all about showing voters that he can fulfill his campaign promises.

“We get so caught up in the rhetoric of campaigns, all of the soundbites and all of the different clips, but at the end of the day, there’s a real job to be done as a United States Senator, and I think I’m the best person in this race to do that job,” Shelton said.

Mike Espy, former Secretary of the United States Department of Agriculture and a U.S. Representative, is currently the only other Democrat in the race, and in his announcement he stated he wants to make a return to Washington after leaving in 1994.

“It’s been some time since I worked in Washington and I have witnessed with dismay the continuing dysfunction. I have proven that I can work with everyone as long as the goal is a better Mississippi,” Espy said.

Cochran’s retirement became official on April 1st and Governor Bryant’s appointee, Cindy Hyde-Smith, will take over in the coming days. Hyde-Smith will be challenged by state Senator, and fellow Republican, Chris McDaniel.

The special election to fill Cochran’s seat will take place on November 6th. Whoever is elected will fill the remainder of Cochran’s term which runs until 2020.

If no candidate receives a majority of votes on election day, a runoff will be held on November 27th.

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