Two Mississippi congressional incumbents win party primaries

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Two incumbent congressmen in Mississippi won party primaries Tuesday. Another, 4th District Republican Steven Palazzo, advanced to a June 28 runoff.

1ST DISTRICT

Republican Rep. Trent Kelly defeated Mark D. Strauss in north Mississippi’s 1st Congressional District.

Kelly won a 2015 special election to Congress after serving as district attorney for several counties in north Mississippi. He was endorsed in Tuesday’s primary by former President Donald Trump.

Strauss has a picket fence near his home painted with slogans including “Trump Won” and “COVID tests are poison.”

On the Democratic side, Dianne Black won, defeating another first-time candidate, Hunter Avery. Black said she wants to expand access to health care and fight climate change.

2ND DISTRICT

Mississippi’s lone Democrat in Washington, Rep. Bennie Thompson, defeated one primary opponent. Jerry Kerner ran a low-budget campaign and called Thompson “a gullible follower of the anti-American House leadership.”

Thompson is chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee and co-chairman of a committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. Thompson has been in Congress since winning a 1993 special election. The 2nd District now encompasses most of western Mississippi and much of the metro Jackson area.

After Thompson voted Tuesday in Bolton, he spent the day campaigning in his district, which is now about 300 miles (483 kilometers) from north to south. The largely rural 2nd District expanded this year as state legislators redrew the four House districts to account for population changes in the past decade.

Thompson said in the days before the primary, he went to southwestern Mississippi counties that were added to the district, including Franklin County, where he taught in 1968-69. He said he was happy to see some of his former students.

“They said, ’Now we finally have a congressperson we can vote for who understands support for public education, who understands support for Social Security, who understands support for veterans,” Thompson told The Associated Press.

Thompson said he returns to Washington on Wednesday to continue preparing for Thursday night’s televised hearings of the Jan. 6 investigative committee.

The 2nd District Republican primary candidates are Michael Carson, a diesel mechanic who cites former President Ronald Reagan as a role model; Ronald Eller, a retired Army captain who is campaigning on free enterprise and limited government; Brian Flowers, a military veteran who lost to Thompson in 2020 and now says Thompson “is trying to intimidate American patriots” by investigating the activities of Jan. 6, 2021; and Stanford Johnson, a truck driver who advocates congressional term limits.

3RD DISTRICT

Rep. Michael Guest was in a race with former Navy pilot Michael Cassidy in a three-person Republican primary in central Mississippi’s 3rd Congressional District.

Guest was first elected to Congress in 2018 after serving as a district attorney in Rankin and Madison counties. He has campaigned on supporting border security and gun rights.

Cassidy criticizes Guest for being in the minority of Republicans who voted to create an outside commission to investigate the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol — a group that would have been separate from the congressional committee now conducting the investigation.

Also in the 3rd District Republican primary is Thomas B. Griffin, a business owner who says he wants to put Christian values into schools.

No Democratic primary is being held because Shuwaski A. Young was unopposed for the nomination. He will be on the general election ballot.

Categories: Associated Press, Featured, Mississippi State News, News