If primary voteR turnout is any indication, thousands or more Northsiders are likely to vote in this year’s statewide elections than in 2015.
Residents are expected to head to the polls on Tuesday, November 5, to cast ballots for statewide offices and a slew of local races.
Both Hinds and Madison counties reported significantly higher voter participation in the primary elections this year than in the races four years ago, with some 53,000 people casting ballots in Hinds County and 28,000 doing the same in Madison.
Driving turnout this year is likely the hard-fought race for governor, as well as numerous open seats at the state level, including lieutenant governor, treasurer, attorney general and secretary of state.
Northsiders are also eyeing local legislative races, including the District 64 race for state House of Representatives.
That race pits longtime Republican incumbent Bill Denny against Democrat Shanda Yates. Republicans are hoping to hold onto the seat, in part, to aid in 2020 census redistricting.
Other local races include the District 25 Senate race, which pits Sen. Walter Michel, a Republican, against Democrat Earl Scales.
Michel questioned Scales’ entry into the race. Initially, the Madison County resident qualified to run in the District 22 race. The state Democratic Party had asked the secretary of state’s office to move Scales to District 25 after the qualifying deadline.
Prior to Scales being moved to District 25, Michel was running unopposed.
In House District 73, Republican Jill Ford is facing off against Democrat Gayla Walsh Massey, and in District 56, Philip Gunn, the current Republican House speaker, will have to get by Democrat Vicki Slater to secure another term.
The District 70 House race, District 58 House race and District 29 Senate race were decided in the party primary. William “Bo” Brown unseated first-term Rep. Kathy Sykes. Rep. Joel Bomgar won after being challenged in the Republican Primary and Sen. David Blount was unopposed.
Local matchups to be decided Tuesday include the race for Hinds County
Sheriff. Former Jackson Police Chief Lee Vance won a hotly contested Democratic primary, and will face Republican Charlette Stewart Oswalt and independent Torrence Mayfield in the general.
In Madison County, Tax Collector Kay Pace, the Republican nominee, will have to defeat Democrat Robert Earl Winn to earn another four years, while incumbent Republican Bill Featherston will have to defeat Democrat Martina Griffin to secure another term as justice court judge, Place Two.
Northsiders will also vote for candidates seeking statewide office. In the governor’s race, residents will choose between current Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, a Republican, Democratic Attorney General Jim Hood, Constitution Party member Bob Hickingbottom and independent David Singletary.
The battle for lieutenant governor pits longtime Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, a Republican, and District 12 Rep. Jay Hughes, a Democrat. Hosemann was elected to his first term in 2007. Hughes has been in the House since 2016, and previously served as an alderman in Oxford.
Seeking to replace Hosemann is Democrat Johnny DuPree, a former Hattiesburg mayor, and Republican Michael Watson, a state senator and attorney.
Like Hosemann, State Treasurer Lynn Fitch is also looking to move up. Fitch, a Republican, is seeking to be the next state attorney general, a seat that is being vacated by Hood. To win, she’ll have to get past Democrat Jennifer Riley-Collins, the current executive direct of the ACLU of Mississippi.
Fitch’s successor as treasurer will be either Addie Lee Green or David McRae. Green, a Democrat, is a former election commissioner and alderwoman for the city of Bolton. McRae is equity managing partner with McRae Investments and is a licensed attorney.
Two other races are also wide-open: the race for Central District public service commissioner (PSC) and Central District transportation commissioner.
Longtime state Sen. Willie Simmons, a Democrat, is hoping to become the next transportation commissioner, and is facing off against Republican Butch Lee, the mayor of Brandon. The winner will replace longtime Commissioner Dick Hall, who is retiring.
The PSC race will come down to Ward Four Jackson City Councilman De’Keither Stamps, a Democrat and retired Marine, and Republican Brent Bailey, state activities coordinator of the 25 x ’25 Initiative, a group that pushes for the use and development clean, renewable energy sources.
The winner will replace current Commissioner Cecil Brown, who, like Hall, is also retiring.
Voters will also choose between Republican incumbent Andy Gipson and Democrat Rickey Cole in the race for state agriculture and commerce commissioner and between Republican incumbent Mike Chaney and Democrat Robert Amos for commissioner of insurance.
Auditor Shad White is running unopposed after being appointed to the position by Gov. Phil Bryant.
Other local races were decided in the party primaries: Hinds County district attorney, chancery clerk, circuit clerk, coroner, tax collector, tax assessor, county attorney, District One supervisor, District One justice court judge and District One constable.
Races already decided in Madison County include district attorney, sheriff, chancery clerk, circuit clerk, tax assessor, coroner, county attorney, county surveyor, District One, District Two and District Three supervisor justice court judge places one, three and four, and all constables.