Formerly disqualified gubernatorial candidate Bob Hickingbottom is back on the ballot after winning a lawsuit against the Mississippi Democratic Party.
Hickingbottom, who is challenging party frontrunner Brandon Presley in the primaries, was removed from the ballot by party officials in February over a failure to submit a statement of economic interest (SOEI) to the Mississippi Ethics Commission.
After being disqualified, Hickingbottom, represented by attorney John R. Reeves, took his case to the Hinds County Circuit Court to be heard by Judge Forrest Johnson.
Reeves argued that the former candidate was unlawfully removed from the race, stating that SOEIs have never been a criterion for qualifying candidates, a claim validated by Mississippi Secretary of State Michael Watson.
“By statute, that is not a requirement to be qualified to run for office,” Watson said on The Gallo Show. “They can clearly file that, and have some deadlines to meet that, but you don’t have to do that to be qualified to run for office.”
Johnson ruled in Hickingbottom’s favor, placing the formerly disqualified candidate back into the race to see who will represent the Democratic Party in the battle to hold the state’s highest office.
The Mississippi Democratic Party has not yet confirmed whether or not it will appeal Judge Johnson’s decision to overrule their disqualification of Hickingbottom.
Hickingbottom previously ran for governor in 2019 as a member of the Constitution Party and received a mere 0.3 percent of the vote. He proposed Medicaid expansion, allowing incarcerated nurses and doctors to practice for minimum wage until their sentence ends, and providing raises to all first responders and teachers.