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Mississippi Political Roundup This Week

Democrat Childers files for Senate race
This was a busy week in Mississippi politics and one that kept reporters on their toes. Several candidates threw their hats into the ring, just in time for the March 1 filing deadline for political races. Emily Wagster Pettus, the AP political reporter in Jackson, broke the news that Travis Childers has officially qualified as a Democratic Senate candidate.
Childers last served as a U.S. representative from 2008 to 2011 for the 1st district, which includes Oxford, Southaven, Tupelo and much of northern Mississippi. Childers will run against Bill Marcy in the primary, who last ran in 2012 as a Republican candidate for the 2nd district U.S. House seat. Incumbent Republican Thad Cochran will run against Tea Party darling and current Republican state Sen. Chris McDaniel during the primary.
Gene Taylor switches parties
Gene Taylor has filed as a Republican to run against 4th district incumbent Steven Palazzo, according to WLOX. Taylor first served in the state Senate and was then elected to the U.S. house in 1989, serving until 2010. He was unseated in that election by Palazzo. The primary is June 3.
Black legislators want to stop voter ID law
The Mississippi Legislative Black Caucus has asked the U.S Department of Justice to challenge the state’s voter ID law, which requires photo identification and could hinder minority voting. This law and similar ones in other states were made possible when the U.S. Supreme Court declared Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act unconstitutional.
The letter from state Sen. Kenny Wayne Jones, D-Canton, states that the law will affect not just minorities, but also the elderly and disabled. The Justice Department has not yet commented on if it will challenge this and similar voter ID laws in other states.
Under Section 3 of the Voting Rights Act, states with recent records of deliberate discrimination must meet a preclearance requirement, and Jones said the state has not provided enough related evidence for the new law.
Name tossed around for potential Jackson mayor
The rumor mills are already beginning to churn about who will run for the unexpired seat of Jackson Mayor Chokwe Lumumba, who unexpectedly died of heart failure on Feb. 25.
The name that’s at the top of the list as a potential candidate is Melvin Priester, Jr., who attended Harvard as an undergraduate and then Stanford for law school. He currently serves as the acting president for Jackson City Council, and was elected to Lumumba’s seat when he ran for mayor.
Lumumba had served for less than one year as mayor. He was a well-known civil rights lawyer and progressive. The sudden loss was felt nationally and elicited an outpouring of remembrances in writing, and stories by national media. Priester was the first person to alert news media to Lumumba’s passing.
Compiled by Gretchen Stone, HottyToddy.com associate editor. You can contact Gretchen about state politics at Gretchen.Stone@HottyToddy.com

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