The deadline to qualify for the race in Mississippi’s third congressional district has passed and eight candidates make up the field to replace Congressman Gregg Harper. The longtime congressman announced that he would not seek re-election in 2018 to focus on spending more time with his family.
Each candidate must now focus on winning over Mississippians in the district which spans large portions of central Mississippi. The field is made up of six Republicans and two Democrats.
The Republicans running are; State Senator Sally Doty, Madison & Rankin County DA Michael Guest, businessmen & woman Whit Hughes, Perry Parker, and Morgan Dunn, and former state curriculum administrator Katherine Tate.
Democrats who have filed to run include: State Rep. Michael Evans, and former Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, Michael Aycox.
Guest was the first to announce his candidacy after Harper’s announcement, and the DA and his staff have prosecuted nearly 20,000 cases in Mississippi. Guest says that his experience in the courtroom would serve him well if he is elected to go to Washington.
“I’ve spent the last 22 years in the DA’s office fighting for the people of Mississippi, and I’ve been able to work with incredible men and women of law enforcement, and our elected judicial officers to make Madison and Rankin safe and good places to worship and raise a family,” Guest said. “What I hope to do is be able to do, instead of going in a courtroom every day, is going to represent Mississippi in Washington and fight for the people in the halls of Congress to see that the people of Mississippi’s interests are represented.”
Whit Hughes is well-known as the sixth-man on Mississippi State’s Final Four team back in 1995, but he’s also put together a successful career off the court. Hughes has served as Foundation President and Chief Development Officer for Baptist Health Systems. He also worked alongside Gov. Haley Barbour as the Deputy Director of Mississippi Development Authority during the Barbour administration.
“As I look at my family, I am concerned about what the future holds for our country and our state. Today in Mississippi, I see a middle-class that is shrinking instead of growing. Communities are struggling and, while the challenges we face may be complex, the solutions are simple: better jobs and a stronger economy.”
With the tagline “A proven businessman, not a politician” Perry Parker is running on a platform of change from career politicians. Perry helped start TheFirst, A National Banking Association, and currently serves as Director Emeritus. His website states that he supports term limits, free markets, a strong military, and “draining the swamp”, one of President Trump’s key campaign slogans.
“I decided a few weeks ago that there would be no better way to serve our district and this country than as a Mississippi Congressman. I am the most qualified candidate and I will never be a professional politician…I believe our state needs someone to run because they are looking to serve, not because they are looking for a job.”
Doty is a state Senator representing district 39 and hails from Brookhaven, where she is an attorney. Doty is seeking to become the first woman sent from Mississippi to D.C. While she said that would be an “honor”, she is focused on the issues that are facing Mississippi.
“Of course, jobs and the economy are number one,” Doty said. “I’m especially interested in the workforce participation rate. Nationally it has gone down, and in Mississippi, ours is one of the lowest, so I’m very interested in what is driving that. I believe that we have some federal policies that have contributed to that. I’m very interested in workforce development issues, and everyone needs to have a job.”
Dunn is a newcomer to politics, and the Magee native and small business owner is focusing on rural areas in the state and the need for leadership to bring prosperity to those areas. On her website, it states that the Ole Miss grad operates a business that provides consulting to the healthcare industry. Dunn says that her time in the medical field has shown her that quality healthcare can be a catalyst for change.
“This will require strategy, passion, determination, and brave leadership. I will be the citizen legislator rural Mississippi needs and deserves… “While working in business development, I learned how health care is a critical part of the essential infrastructure necessary for attracting business, nurturing economic growth, and maintaining not just a healthy community, but a well-employed workforce.”
Tate is a former state curriculum administrator, and her website lists her platform centered around child care and treatment.
“Term Limits ~ Citizen Government, SUSPEND PUBLIC FUNDS for schools promoting anti-American Secular Statist indoctrination, SUSPEND PUBLIC FUNDS for illegitimate baby mills, SUSPEND VOTING PRIVILEGES for mothers and fathers who choose to abort their child, SUSPEND VOTING PRIVILEGES for mothers and fathers who force taxpayers to bear the costs of birthing, rearing, feeding, clothing, housing, and babysitting their children, RESTORE Common sense “America First” immigration and economic policies.”
Evans is a State Representative, but not a politician. He and his wife, Heather, have operated a poultry farm in Kemper County for years, and he is a retired fireman. When it comes to the issues, Evans says that he is a “proud supporter” of second amendment rights, pro-life, and wants to work to fix the state’s infrastructure.
“Mississippians deserve a real voice in Congress,” Evans said. “It is time for serious leadership and representation in Washington, D.C. I believe my background as a firefighter, a farmer and a state legislator has prepared me to represent citizens of the Third Congressional District.”
Aycox was one of the last ones to enter the race, but he did have one of the more memorable announcements. The former Navy officer stood in front of a tank to make it official that he was running. In his announcement, Aycox called back to a past representative and says that bipartisanship can be a solution. He also stressed the importance of protecting children and veterans.
“Maybe in the past, we’ve needed lawyers, bankers, or special interest groups representing our interests in D.C., but these elite have failed us. The last time a tank from this district was in Washington was in 1997 when G.V Sony Montgomery left office. Since his departure, Mississippi’s voice has become a whisper, and our elected have become puppets…When are we going to stop with party politics? When are we going to change?” Aycox said.
The primaries for both Republicans and Democrats will be held on June 5th.