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Stories about Mississippi

Incumbent Michael Guest defeated Michael Cassidy in Mississippi’s 3rd District Republican Party primary runoff

Incumbent Michael Guest (R) defeated Michael Cassidy (R) in the Republican Party primary runoff in Mississippi’s 3rd Congressional District on June 28, 2022. Guest, who has represented this district in Congress since 2019, won with 67.4% of the vote while Cassidy received 32.6%. In the first round of the primary on June 7, Cassidy received 47.5% of the vote to Guest’s 46.9%.

Guest is a member of the U.S. House Homeland Security, Transportation, and Ethics Committees. He served as the district attorney for Rankin and Madison counties in Mississippi before his election to Congress. The Guest campaign highlighted his political experience and what they described as his conservative voting record in Congress. After the June 7 primary, Guest said, “I’ll be working to earn your vote because we need PROVEN, conservative leadership with a real record of fighting for our values—that’s the difference in the runoff election!”

Cassidy is a military veteran who said that he was running for Congress to continue serving his country. After the June 7, 2022, primary, Cassidy said “This is the first step in replacing our current congressman with someone who better represents [our] conservative Mississippi values.” According to Cassidy, “We need more people in Congress that will truly fight for the American people, and Michael Guest is quite simply not equipped for that challenge. He may be a decent man but he has proven to be ineffective at his job, and we need people who know how to fight in Congress.”

Guest voted along with 34 other House Republicans to create a bipartisan commission to investigate the events of January 6, 2021. Cassidy mentioned this vote when he challenged Guest to a debate after the June 7 primary: “I am calling on Mr. Guest to give the voters the opportunity to see us debate and so he can be held accountable for voting for the Democrats’ January 6th Commission.” Guest’s campaign responded saying, “Congressman Guest did not vote for Nancy Pelosi’s Select Committee on January 6th that’s currently in the news…He voted against the Select Committee because he knew it would lead to the witch hunt we are seeing now…[Cassidy] has spent a personal fortune to mislead the people of Mississippi about Congressman Guest’s conservative, Christian character.”

Before the primaries, the Cook Political Report, Sabato’s Crystal Ball, and Inside Elections all rated Mississippi’s 3rd Congressional District as a solid/safe Republican seat. 



Ezell defeats incumbents Palazzo in primary runoff for Mississippi’s 4th Congressional District

Mike Ezell defeated incumbent Steven Palazzo in the June 28 Republican primary runoff for Mississippi’s 4th Congressional District on June 28, 2022. In the June 7 primary, Palazzo received 31.6% of the vote, while Ezell received 25.1%. Both candidates advanced to a runoff because no candidate received more than 50% of the vote.

Palazzo was first elected to the U.S. House in 2010. From 2006 to 2011, he served in the Mississippi House of Representatives. Palazzo said voters should choose him because of his experience in Congress, relationships at the state, local, and federal levels, and seat on the House Committee on Appropriations. Palazzo said, “If we lose this Appropriations seat, we will not get it back.” Palazzo also said, “I’m the one with the proven track record. I’ve been working hard for south Mississippi for over 12 years. Look, $26 billion for 26 ships since 2011, fighting for our men and women in uniform, helping to secure funds for the wall on our southern border. I think I’ve been an effective legislator for south Mississippi.” Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise (R) and the National Right to Life endorsed Palazzo’s re-election.

Ezell is the Jackson County Sheriff, a position to which he was first elected in 2014. Ezell campaigned on protecting the 2nd Amendment, securing the border, and growing the economy. Ezell said voters should choose him because of his law enforcement experience: “From the chaos and crisis on our southern border to the crime and drugs that are hurting so many communities across our country, it’s going to take someone in Congress with real law enforcement experience to tackle these issues that affect all of us.” The candidates who lost in the June 7 primary—Clay Wagner, Brice Wiggins, Carl Boyanton, Raymond Brooks, and Kidron Peterson—endorsed Ezell.

Allegations that Palazzo previously misused campaign funds were an issue in the primary, with Ezell saying, “Steven Palazzo has been under the cloud of an ethics investigation.” In 2020, the Office of Congressional Ethics released a report that said the allegations should be further investigated because “there is substantial reason to believe that Rep. Palazzo converted funds to personal use to pay expenses that were not legitimate and verifiable campaign expenditures attributable to bona fide campaign or political purposes.” Palazzo denied the allegations. Palazzo’s campaign spokesman said, “All of this from the beginning was political, created by Congressman Palazzo’s political opponents…We’ve long been ready to get this behind us and we fully believe it will be resolved in Congressman Palazzo’s favor.” The House Ethics Committee’s review of the allegations is ongoing.



Palazzo and Ezell headed for runoff in Mississippi’s 4th Congressional District primary

Incumbent Steven Palazzo and Mike Ezell are running in the June 28 Republican primary runoff for Mississippi’s 4th Congressional District. In the June 7 primary, Palazzo received 31.6% of the vote, while Ezell received 25.1%. Both candidates advanced to a runoff because no candidate received more than 50% of the vote.

Palazzo was first elected to the U.S. House in 2010. From 2006 to 2011, he served in the Mississippi House of Representatives. Palazzo said voters should choose him because of his experience in Congress, relationships at the state, local, and federal levels, and seat on the House Committee on Appropriations. Palazzo said, “If we lose this Appropriations seat, we will not get it back.” Palazzo also said, “I’m the one with the proven track record. I’ve been working hard for south Mississippi for over 12 years. Look, $26 billion for 26 ships since 2011, fighting for our men and women in uniform, helping to secure funds for the wall on our southern border. I think I’ve been an effective legislator for south Mississippi.” Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise (R) and National Right to Life endorsed Palazzo’s re-election.

Ezell is the Jackson County Sheriff, a position to which he was first elected in 2014. Ezell has campaigned on protecting the 2nd Amendment, securing the border, and growing the economy. Ezell has said voters should choose him because of his law enforcement experience: “From the chaos and crisis on our southern border to the crime and drugs that are hurting so many communities across our country, it’s going to take someone in Congress with real law enforcement experience to tackle these issues that affect all of us.” The candidates who lost in the June 7 primary—Clay Wagner, Brice Wiggins, Carl Boyanton, Raymond Brooks, and Kidron Peterson—endorsed Ezell.

Allegations that Palazzo previously misused campaign funds have been an issue in the primary, with Ezell saying, “Steven Palazzo has been under the cloud of an ethics investigation.” In 2020, the Office of Congressional Ethics released a report that said the allegations should be further investigated because “there is substantial reason to believe that Rep. Palazzo converted funds to personal use to pay expenses that were not legitimate and verifiable campaign expenditures attributable to bona fide campaign or political purposes.” Palazzo has denied the allegations. Palazzo’s campaign spokesman said, “All of this from the beginning was political, created by Congressman Palazzo’s political opponents…We’ve long been ready to get this behind us and we fully believe it will be resolved in Congressman Palazzo’s favor.” The House Ethics Committee‘s review of the allegations is ongoing.

Independent race ratings outlets consider the general election Solid Republican.



Guest faces Cassidy in Republican primary runoff in Mississippi’s 3rd District on June 28, 2022

Incumbent Michael Guest (R) and Michael Cassidy (R) are running in a Republican Party primary runoff in Mississippi’s 3rd Congressional District on June 28, 2022, to determine which Republican candidate will run in the district’s general election on Nov. 8, 2022. Guest has represented this district in Congress since 2019.

In the June 7 primary, Cassidy received 47.5% of the vote, and Guest received 46.9%. In Mississippi, a candidate must receive over 50% of the vote to advance directly to the general election. Since no candidate received a majority of votes on June 7, Guest and Cassidy advanced to the June 28 primary runoff.

Guest has represented Mississippi’s 3rd Congressional District for two terms. He is a member of congressional committees dealing with homeland security, transportation, and ethics. He served as the district attorney for Rankin and Madison counties before being elected to Congress. Guest’s campaign says he has more political experience and has a conservative voting record in Congress. After the June 7 Republican primary, Guest thanked his supporters and said, “It appears we are headed to a runoff on 6/28. I’ll be working to earn your vote because we need PROVEN, conservative leadership with a real record of fighting for our values—that’s the difference in the runoff election!”

Cassidy is a political newcomer and military veteran who said that he is running for Congress to continue serving his country. Cassidy’s campaign says he is more conservative politically than Guest. After the June 7 primary, Cassidy said he was, “grateful to the people of Mississippi’s 3rd Congressional District for giving me the most votes…This is the first step in replacing our current congressman with someone who better represents [our] conservative Mississippi values.”

Guest voted along with thirty-four other House Republicans to create a bipartisan commission to investigate the events of Jan. 6, 2021. According to the New York Times, “the decision to buck their party and former President Donald J. Trump has imperiled several Republicans in their primaries this year” despite the fact that the House’s proposal later failed in the Senate.

Cassidy mentioned this vote when he challenged Guest to a debate after the June 7, 2022, primary: “I am calling on Mr. Guest to give the voters the opportunity to see us debate and so he can be held accountable for voting for the Democrats’ January 6th Commission.”

Guest’s campaign responded saying, “Congressman Guest did not vote for Nancy Pelosi’s Select Committee on January 6th that’s currently in the news…He voted against the Select Committee because he knew it would lead to the witch hunt we are seeing now…[Cassidy] has spent a personal fortune to mislead the people of Mississippi about Congressman Guest’s conservative, Christian character.”

Before the primaries, the Cook Political Report, Sabato’s Crystal Ball, and Inside Elections all rated Mississippi’s 3rd Congressional District as a solid/safe Republican seat. This means that the winner of this Republican primary runoff is very likely to win the general election as well.



All Mississippi’s U.S. House incumbents face primaries for the first time since 2012

The filing deadline for candidates running for the U.S. House of Representatives in Mississippi was March 1, 2022. This year, 24 candidates—an average of six for each of the state’s four U.S. House districts—filed to run, including 16 Republicans, seven Democrats, and one Libertarian. The six candidates per district average is more than it was in both 2020—3.5 candidates per district—and 2018 (4.75).

There are no open-seat congressional races this year in Mississippi, as all four incumbents are running for re-election. Mississippi has had one open-seat U.S. House race since 2012.

Here are some other highlights from this year’s filings:

  • This is the first election to take place under new district lines following the 2020 census. Mississippi was apportioned four seats in the House of Representatives, the same number it received after the 2010 census. Governor Tate Reeves (R) signed the state’s congressional redistricting plan on Jan. 24, 2022. After the state Senate approved the plan, Lee Sanderlin wrote in the Mississippi Clarion Ledger, “The bill preserves the current balance of congressional power in Mississippi, keeping three seats for Republicans and one for lone Democrat Bennie Thompson.”
  • All four U.S. House incumbents in the state face contested primaries for the first time since 2012.
  • There are seven contested U.S. House primaries—four Republican and three Democratic—this year in Mississippi. The only U.S. House district without a Democratic or Republican primary will be in Mississippi’s 3rd District, where Shuwaski Young (D) is unopposed for his party’s nomination.
  • For the second cycle in a row, Fourth District Rep. Steven Palazzo (R) is running in the state’s largest U.S. House primary, with seven candidates competing for that seat
  • All four U.S. House districts will be contested in the general election, as every district has both Democratic and Republican candidates.

{Chart of open seats – https://app.datawrapper.de/chart/nhUHz/publish]

Mississippi’s primary for U.S. House districts is scheduled for June 7, 2022. If no candidate receives more than 50% of the vote in any race, a primary runoff will take place on June 28, 2022.

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Mississippi enacts new legislative district boundaries

Mississippi enacted new state legislative district boundaries on March 31 when both legislative chambers approved district maps for the other chamber. Legislative redistricting in Mississippi does not require gubernatorial approval. The maps will take effect for the state’s next legislative elections, in 2023.

Redistricting of the state Senate was approved by the Senate 45-7 on March 29, and the state House approved the Senate’s district boundaries on March 31 by a vote of 68-49. New district boundaries for the Mississippi House of Representatives were approved by the House on March 29 by an 81-38 vote. The Mississippi Senate approved the House map—41 to 8—on March 31.

Emily Wagster Pettus of the Associated Press wrote that “Republican legislative leaders said the redistricting plans are likely to maintain their party’s majority in each chamber.” Pettus also wrote that “Senate President Pro Tempore Dean Kirby of Pearl said the Senate redistricting plan keeps the same number of Republican-leaning and Democratic-leaning districts as now.”

As of April 7, 43 states have adopted legislative district maps for both chambers and one state has adopted maps for one legislative chamber. Courts in three states have overturned previously enacted maps, the U.S. Supreme Court blocked Wisconsin’s enacted maps, and two states have not yet adopted legislative redistricting plans after the 2020 census. As of April 7, 2012, 44 states had enacted legislative redistricting plans after the 2010 census.

Nationwide, legislative redistricting has been completed for 1,758 of 1,972 state Senate seats (89.1%) and 4,776 of 5,411 state House seats (88.3%).

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Mississippi Governor Reeves signs bill affecting how race can be taught in public schools

Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves (R) on March 14, 2022, signed a bill into law to prohibit teaching critical race theory in public schools. Senate Bill 2113 passed by a 75-43 vote in the House and a 32-2 vote in the Senate.  

The bill does not reference critical race theory directly but prohibits public schools from directing “students to affirm that any sex, race, ethnicity, religion or national origin is inherently superior.” 

In a caption to a video of Reeves signing the bill, he wrote, “In too many schools around the country, Critical Race Theory is running amok. It threatens the integrity of our kids’ education and aims only to humiliate and indoctrinate. In Mississippi, we’re taking a strong stand against this progressive fundamentalism. That’s why today I was proud to sign legislation that will help keep Critical Race Theory where it belongs – out of Mississippi classrooms.” 

Opponents of the bill argued that it would create confusion about what educators are allowed to teach about U.S. history. Mississippi School of Law Professor Yvette Butler responded to the bill in a Twitter thread on March 9, 2022. Butler argued that the bill “has nothing to do with Critical Race Theory” and creates problems because it “is broad, vague and allows the State to strip funding from schools for violating it,” according to Mississippi Free Press

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Mississippi enacts new congressional districts

Mississippi enacted new congressional districts on Jan. 24 when Gov. Tate Reeves (R) signed the state’s congressional redistricting plan. Mississippi was apportioned four seats in the U.S. House of Representatives after the 2020 census, the same number it received after the 2010 census. This map will take effect for Mississippi’s 2022 congressional elections.

The state House of Representatives approved the plan, 75-44, on Jan. 6 with 73 Republicans, one Democrat, and one independent voting in favor and 41 Democrats, two Republicans, and one independent voting against. The state Senate approved the new congressional map, 33-18, on Jan. 12 with all votes in favor by Republicans and 16 Democrats and two Republicans voting against.

After the state Senate approved the plan, Lee Sanderlin wrote in the Mississippi Clarion Ledger, “The bill preserves the current balance of congressional power in Mississippi, keeping three seats for Republicans and one for lone Democrat Bennie Thompson, D-Bolton.”

As of Jan. 24, 26 states had adopted congressional district maps, two states have approved congressional district boundaries that have not yet taken effect, one state’s map was struck down by the state supreme court, six states were apportioned one congressional district (so no congressional redistricting is required), and 15 states have not yet adopted congressional redistricting plans after the 2020 census. As of Jan. 24, 2012, 32 states had enacted congressional redistricting plans.

Congressional redistricting has been completed for 278 of the 435 seats (63.9%) in the U.S. House of Representatives.



Hickman defeats Duong in Mississippi state Senate special runoff election

A special general runoff election was held for Mississippi state Senate District 32 on Nov. 23. Rod Hickman earned 59.8% of the vote, defeating Minh Duong, who earned 40.3%

State legislative special elections are nonpartisan in Mississippi, meaning that candidates’ party affiliations do not appear on the ballot. 

Hickman and Duong had advanced from the general election held on Nov. 2, where they were the top two finishers, defeating seven other candidates. A runoff was necessary because no one earned a majority of the vote during the general election.

The special election was called after Sampson Jackson (D) resigned on June 30. Jackson served from 1992 to 2021.

As of November 2021, 66 state legislative special elections have been scheduled for 2021 in 21 states. Between 2011 and 2020, an average of 75 special elections took place each year. Mississippi held 42 special elections from 2010 to 2020.

Mississippi is a Republican state government trifecta, meaning that the Republican Party controls the office of governor and both chambers of the state legislature. Republicans control the state Senate by a margin of 36 to 15, with one vacancy.



Mississippi Senate District 32 special election advances to runoff

The special general runoff election for Mississippi State Senate District 32 is on Nov. 23. Rod Hickman and Minh Duong are competing in the runoff, after finishing in first and second place, respectively, at the general election on Nov. 2. 

Hickman and Duong defeated seven other candidates in the general election, earning 25.8% and 22.5% of the vote, respectively. A runoff was necessary because no candidate earned more than 50% of the vote.

State legislative special elections in Mississippi are nonpartisan, meaning that candidates’ party affiliations do not appear on the ballot.

The special election was called after Sampson Jackson (D) resigned from office effective June 30. Sampson assumed office in 1992.

Mississippi has a Republican state government trifecta. A trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and majorities in both state legislative chambers. Republicans control the state Senate by a margin of 36 to 14 with two vacancies.

As of November 2021, 66 state legislative special elections have been scheduled for 2021 in 21 states. Between 2011 and 2020, an average of 75 special elections took place each year. Mississippi held 42 special elections from 2010 to 2020.

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