Although local judicial races remain unchanged with mostly incumbents who are unopposed, the U.S. senate race became more complicated Friday.
Long-time Republican incumbent Thad Cochran had said he would seek re-election and long before that, tea party candidate Chris McDaniel, Republican state senator and attorney, had begun his own campaign for the office.
Shortly before the qualifying deadline, former congressman and former Prentiss County Chancery Clerk Travis Childers, a Democrat, also entered the race, as did several lesser-known hopefuls.
As a result, Cochran will face McDaniel and Realtor Tom Carey in the primary. The Republican winner will then face the winner in November of a Democratic primary that includes Childers, teacher and past candidate Bill Compton Jr., John Rawl and Bill Marcy. Marcy is a retired police officer, tea party activist, past candidate and former Republican. Some Mississippi Democrats have already spoken in favor of Marcy’s not being certified to run as a Democrat.
Republican two-term incumbent Alan Nunnelee of Tupelo will not face a primary challenge but will be on the November ballot with Libertarian Danny Bedwell of Columbus and the winner of a Democratic primary between Ron Dickey, a mental health technician, former police officer and Gulf War veteran of Horn Lake, and Rex Weathers, a Navy veteran and past candidate.
Established election watchers such as former Stennis Institute Director Mary Wiseman say that, historically, incumbents stand little chance of defeat, although the tea party candidates are clearly prepared to spend a lot of money to oppose Cochran in particular.
Primary elections are June 3, and the general election is Nov. 4.
In more local races, all but one of the presently serving circuit and chancery court judges for Union County have qualified for re-election in November and are running unopposed, according to the Mississippi Secretary of State’s election website.
The exception is circuit court judge Robert W. Elliott, in District 3 Place 1, who is not seeking re-election.
Running to fill that slot is Kelly Luther, who works with the district attorney’s office.
Union County has four chancery court judges and three for circuit court.
Those who have qualified for chancery court are:
John A. Hatcher, District 1 Place 1
Michael Malski, District 1 Place 2
Jacqueline Estes, District 1 Place 3
Talmadge D. Littlejohn, District 1 Place 4
The deadline is not until May 1.
Qualifying to run for circuit court judge are:
Andrew K. Howorth, District 3 Place 1
Luther Kelly, District 3 Place 2
John A. Gregory, District 3 Place 3
One other local election, for the District Five seat on the Union County School Board of Trustees, will be on the general election ballot in November. Wayne Mahon is the currently serving Fifth District school trustee but the qualifying period for that office is not until Aug. 6 through Sept. 5.
In the judicial races, those seeking office must qualify with the Secretary of State’s office by Friday, May 9.