Qualifying ends for state, county elections

Two local state lawmakers make surprising moves on the final day of qualifying for the 2019 elections in Mississippi.

Posted: Mar 1, 2019 5:10 PM
Updated: Mar 2, 2019 11:31 AM

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The latest on qualifying for Mississippi elections (all times local):

6:45 p.m.

With the close of qualifying at 5 p.m. Friday, some candidates in Mississippi's upcoming 2019 election have no major party or independent opposition.

Republican auditor Shad White, who was appointed to his post by Gov. Phil Bryant and has never run for office before, faces neither a Republican primary opponent nor a Democratic general election opponent.

Northern District Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley, a Democrat, also has drawn no major-party opposition.

Democrats qualified no candidates for transportation commissioner in the southern district, meaning the winner of a Republican primary between incumbent Tom King, former state Sen. Tony Smith and Chad Toney will be unopposed in the general election.

A number of lawmakers are also unopposed.

The top of the ticket could feature the most competitive governor's race since 2003, with Democratic Attorney General Jim Hood and Republican Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves the favorites in their respective primaries.

Voters will also elect a new lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state and treasurer.

5:35 p.m.

Some local sheriffs will have a quiet election season.

Chickasaw County Sheriff Jim Meyers and Pontotoc County Sheriff Leo Mask will run unopposed in this year's county elections.

Most other local races for sheriff will have some competition.

In Lowndes County, three Republicans and one independent are running to replace incumbent Mike Arledge, who decided not to seek another four-year term.

Monroe County Sheriff Cecil Cantrell has two opponents in the Democratic primary.  The winner takes on former Sheriff Andy Hood, who has no opposition in the GOP primary.

In Yalobusha County, Sheriff Lance Humphreys faces four challengers in the Democratic primary with the winner taking on independent Mark Fulco.

And eight people have filed to run for circuit clerk of Tishomingo County since incumbent Donna Dill is not running again.

4:45 p.m.

A third high-profile Republican is jumping into his party's primary to succeed four-term Democrat Jim Hood, Mississippi's current attorney general who's running for governor.

Andy Taggart, a Madison lawyer, announced Friday that he would seek the GOP nomination, joining state Treasurer Lynn Fitch and state Rep. Mark Baker.

Taggart was chief of staff under Gov. Kirk Fordice and served a term as a Madison County supervisor. He's also a former executive director of the state Republican Party.

He's swung away from many Mississippi Republicans in recent years, though, chairing the state campaign of Ohio Gov. John Kasich and remaining a vocal critic of President Donald Trump.

The only Democrat who has announced she is running is Jennifer Riley Collins. She's the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Mississippi and served 32 years as a military intelligence officer.

___

4:15 p.m.

Even before qualifying closes Friday, Democrats are losing three more incumbents in the Mississippi House of Representatives.

House Minority Leader David Baria of Bay St. Louis says he's leaving the Legislature after one term in the state Senate and two terms in the state House. Baria ran unsuccessfully for U.S. Senate last year, losing to incumbent Republican Roger Wicker.

In the meantime, Rep. Nick Bain of Corinth says he's switching parties to run as a Republican. House Speaker Philip Gunn announced the switch, sending out a statement from Bain saying he's "tired of sitting on the sidelines" and "ready to be part of the policy-making in Mississippi."

Nine-term Rep. Steve Holland of Plantersville says he's qualifying for re-election as an independent. He faced a Democratic primary challenger.

The switches leave Democrats with only 44 members of the 122-member House, below the 48 needed to block legislation requiring a supermajority. There are only eight remaining white Democrats in the House. Of those Baria and Preston Sullivan of Okolona are retiring, while Jay Hughes of Oxford is running for lieutenant governor.

___

2 p.m.

The field is firming up for Mississippi's 2019 statewide election, as qualifying closes at 5 p.m. Friday.

The top of the ticket could feature the most competitive governor's race since 2003, with Democratic Attorney General Jim Hood and Republican Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves the favorites in their respective primaries.

Each man will have to get past some serious challengers, though, with Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith challenging Hood in the Democratic field. On the GOP side, former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Bill Waller Jr. and state Rep. Robert Foster of Hernando will try to upset Reeves.

Voters will also elect a new lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state and treasurer.

Republicans will try to maintain their supermajority in both houses of the Legislature.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 145636

Reported Deaths: 3745
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto963299
Hinds9584195
Harrison6848109
Jackson6124118
Rankin528598
Lee484295
Madison4633105
Forrest368186
Jones345287
Lauderdale3350143
Lafayette315049
Washington3097107
Lamar281849
Oktibbeha239261
Bolivar239083
Lowndes228863
Neshoba2164115
Panola211749
Marshall208350
Leflore200890
Pontotoc194728
Monroe190277
Sunflower189755
Lincoln186165
Warren172257
Tate164251
Union160925
Pike160458
Copiah158940
Yazoo151239
Scott150229
Itawamba147634
Coahoma147443
Pearl River144467
Simpson144253
Alcorn143925
Prentiss140429
Grenada136945
Adams136548
Leake131843
Holmes124961
George122224
Tippah121530
Covington117636
Winston116624
Wayne115823
Hancock114139
Marion111046
Attala107833
Tishomingo106142
Newton102729
Chickasaw102432
Tallahatchie95527
Clarke88553
Clay87027
Jasper81122
Walthall75028
Stone72414
Montgomery71925
Calhoun71613
Carroll70614
Lawrence70214
Yalobusha69427
Noxubee69217
Smith68816
Perry65225
Tunica59619
Greene58422
Claiborne57416
Jefferson Davis54217
Humphreys52618
Amite51214
Benton48417
Quitman4796
Webster42014
Kemper40917
Wilkinson38622
Jefferson33811
Franklin3235
Choctaw3077
Sharkey30617
Issaquena1114
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 236865

Reported Deaths: 3472
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson31043491
Mobile19446360
Tuscaloosa12684150
Madison12528146
Montgomery12122235
Shelby992276
Baldwin837684
Lee759765
Morgan626247
Calhoun6049113
Etowah600564
Marshall596153
Houston510838
DeKalb469635
Cullman421136
Limestone408844
St. Clair403955
Elmore398961
Lauderdale387253
Walker356199
Talladega339044
Jackson302524
Colbert297641
Blount282236
Autauga266139
Franklin246233
Coffee236615
Dale228454
Dallas222331
Russell21923
Chilton218537
Covington215933
Escambia196931
Tallapoosa171790
Chambers171448
Pike156014
Clarke155319
Marion135535
Winston126623
Lawrence123936
Geneva11848
Pickens117618
Marengo117424
Barbour116710
Bibb115717
Butler114341
Randolph100321
Cherokee99624
Hale93231
Washington89918
Clay89623
Fayette86216
Henry8436
Lowndes78929
Monroe77911
Cleburne75614
Macon71720
Crenshaw70330
Bullock69019
Conecuh68214
Perry6726
Lamar6337
Wilcox62818
Sumter56222
Choctaw41813
Greene41317
Coosa3144
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