Despite their concern over the low turnout for Tuesday’s primaries, Democratic and Republican Party activists in all four Mississippi congressional districts said they anticipate a larger turnout and victory in the November 8 general elections.
Unofficial results for the Second Congressional District showed incumbent Democrat Bennie Thompson defeating challenger Jerry Kerner by a margin of 39,000 to 1,529 votes, or 96 percent. Republicans Brian Flowers and Ronald Eller, the top two vote getters in the GOP primary, will face each other in a June 28 run-off.
The 2nd District, the only Democratic district among the state’s four, was altered following the 2020 Census to include more majority Black and heavily Democratic precincts. Complaints were filed with the Federal Elections Commission to no avail. The 2nd District now runs over 300 miles from just south of the Tennessee state line down to Louisiana.
“Mr. Thompson got the overwhelming support of the people who voted,” said Bolivar Democratic Party Chair Henry Phillips. “We worked really hard to get the people out, but most of them stayed away from the polls. We’ll have more people in the local races in November. And that will generate more interest. So, we should have a much better turnout then.”
Thompson has gained the solid support of Democrats throughout his district. Vietnam vet and retired airlines pilot Brady Tonth of Vicksburg praised Thompson for his leadership ability and his cool head at a time when others were in panic.
“Thompson has worked consistently for the benefit of the small farmers in the Delta against the influence of the big farmers there,” Tonth said. “He was at his best during the time of the January 6 insurrection in Washington. While everybody else was running and hiding, he sat there and demanded to know what the devil was going on. He’s now leading the investigation of that series of incidents. I trust him, and I’m sure that he will always act in the interest of our people.”
District 1 Republican incumbent Trent Kelly won easily over challenger Mark Strauss and faces Democrat Dianne Black in the November general election.
Late night ballot counts in District 3 showed Republican challenger Michael Cassidy squeaking by incumbent Michael Guest by a margin of 47.5 percent to 46.9. Winner of the upcoming runoff will face Democrat Shuwaski Young, a former Homeland Security Committee staff member, in November. The sole Democrat in the contest, Young’s name was not on Tuesday’s ballot.
Jackson County NAACP Political Action Chair Ruben Roberts reports that District 4 incumbent Steven Palazzo received only 32 percent of Tuesday’s vote and will have to face challenger Mike Ezell, with 25 percent, in the runoff.
Johnny DuPree, the former mayor of Hattiesburg, won 96 percent of the Democratic vote for the Fourth District and is waiting for the Republican winner of the runoff.
Jackson County political and voting rights leader Curley Clark says he can see the way to a Democratic victory in the heavily Republican 4th District.
“We’re trying to get a massive Black rollout for the general election,” Clark said Tuesday. “We’ve got to recognize where we are and what the odds are. Mississippi is a red state, and we have only one Black representative from Mississippi in Washington.
“I know it’s an uphill battle, and I’m looking forward to it,” he said. “DuPree has already won his primary. After the Republican runoff, he’ll face either Palazzo or Ezell. They both are vulnerable. Now the real challenge for November is for us to get the votes out.
“If we can make this into a competitive race,” he said, “then, hopefully, the Democratic National Committee will lend its support for DuPree’s race.”
While the Democrats are holding onto a very thin majority in both the House and the Senate, Clark says a win in Mississippi’s Fourth District might be able to help the Democrats keep that majority.
“DuPree has name recognition and a lot of political experience,” Clark said. “He’s going to give whatever Republican that’s on the ballot a real run for the money.
“We’re going to be working hard down here in the Fourth District between now and November to register new voters in addition to trolling out the ones who are already on the rolls. We’re going to make sure that they understand that we can win if they turn out.
“If we’re successful, the press will pick it up, and DuPree will get some national attention. Deep in my heart, I believe we Democrats can win in November.”