Candidates for Mississippi’s four congressional seats are now set as the qualifying deadline was 5 p.m. Tuesday, March 1.
Once eligibility is confirmed by the Mississippi Secretary of State’s office, candidates will be placed on either the November 8 general election ballot or a party-held primary race, which will be on June 7.
Below, you can find a rundown of candidates for each district.
Trent Kelly (Republican)
Incumbent Trent Kelly is seeking a fifth term after winning a special election runoff in 2015. Kelly has spent 36 years in the Mississippi Army National Guard, currently serving as Major General. In Congress, the Union native serves on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, the House Agriculture Committee, and the House Budget Committee.
Mark D. Strauss (Republican)
Mark Strauss moved to Olive Branch after losing in Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District race in 2018. He ran as a Libertarian then but has now switched over to the Republican party. Strauss is a Donald Trump supporter, who firmly believes the 2020 U.S. presidential election was stolen. He says he is running for Rep. Trent Kelly’s seat as he does not believe Kelly has stood up for Trump.
Hunter Avery (Democrat)
Hunter Avery of Belmont is running to “truly Make America Great Again” by cutting poverty and expanding the middle class, as well as focusing more on climate change.
Dianne Black (Democrat)
Dianne Black has run her own hair salon in Olive Branch for 40 years. She is now the first Black woman to run for Mississippi’s 1st congressional district and is seeking an endorsement from the Biden-Harris Administration. Black lost to Kevin Blackwell in the general election for Mississippi State Senate District 19 in 2019.
Bennie Thompson (Democrat)
Incumbent Bennie Thompson is the state’s longest-serving member of Congress at 29 years. Since being elected in 1993, Thompson’s congressional achievements include authoring legislation to create the National Center for Minority Health and Health Care Disparities, being selected as the first Democratic chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, as well as serving as a member on the on the Agriculture, Budget, and Small Business Committees. The former Bolton mayor will be seeking his 14th term this year.
Jerry Kerner (Democrat)
Jerry Kerner is slated to be Thompson’s primary challenger on the Democratic side. The small business owner from California who now lives in Clinton is running on the promise “to keep [America] governed by the Constitution, instead of being attacked by the hoity-toity wannabe tyrants that think they are in charge now.”
Michael Carson (Republican)
Michael Carson does not have a congressional website as of now. However, a post on his personal Facebook says he is against government mandates and believes all borders should be secure.
Brian Flowers (Republican)
Brian Flowers, a veteran of the Navy, describes himself as a fiscal and social conservative. The North Carolina native who now lives in Clinton is running on the notions that the Constitution should be upheld, congressional members should maintain fiscal responsibility, and overall government should be limited with a strong military. He also promises to “never sway in the fight to protect and defend the unborn.”
Ronald Eller (Republican)
Like Flowers, Ronald Eller is a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces. Following his time in the Army, Eller and his wife moved to Mississippi, where he began working in the medical field. Eller currently works as a cardiothoracic physician assistant at St. Dominic’s Hospital in Jackson. He is also the founder of a manufacturing company called Buck Warrior Enterprises. Eller is running on what he calls the “E-3 Plan.”
Stanford Johnson (Republican)
Stanford Johnson does not have a congressional website or Facebook set up currently.
Michael Guest (Republican)
Incumbent Michael Guest will be seeking reelection to the position he has held since 2018. Since being elected, Guest’s congressional achievements include authoring the Terrorist and Foreign Fighter Travel Exercise Act of 2019, as well as serving as Vice Ranking Member of the House Homeland Security Committee. Additionally, Guest serves on the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and the House Committee on Ethics.
Michael Cassidy (Republican)
Michael Cassidy, a veteran of the Navy, describes himself as a “pro-Trump and pro-American worker” who wants to create a nation in which citizens can raise a family on a single income. Cassidy is also against any COVID-19 mandates and restrictions.
Thomas Griffin (Republican)
Thomas Griffin of Pearl does not have a congressional website as of now. However, a post on his personal Facebook says that he is running on “common sense values” such as implementing Christian teachings in all public schools, banning courses that teach critical race theory, and securing all borders.
Rahim Talley (Democrat)
Rahim Talley is a small business owner in Ridgeland who has 20 years of service in the United States Army and National Guard. Talley wants every Mississippian to have access to affordable healthcare. He also wants to restore the pre-COVID status of small businesses.
Shuwaski A. Young (Democrat)
After serving in President Barack Obama’s campaign, Shuwaski Young was appointed to the position of external engagement coordinator by former Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson. In this position, Young managed the “If You See Something, Say Something®” campaign. Some of Young’s goals if he were to be elected include investing more in underserved communities, providing funds for social advancement programs that focus on racial equality, and creating a diversity pipeline for increased investment in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) and agricultural growth.
Steven Palazzo (Republican)
Steven Palazzo is the current representative of Mississippi’s 4th congressional district and has been for more than 11 years. Palazzo has been under fire during his most recent term as it was revealed that he had used $61,000 of campaign funds in December 2020 to pay for legal expenses to the Watkins & Eager firm. The legal fees came from an ethics investigation into whether Palazzo used campaign money to pay for personal expenses. During his time in Congress, Palazzo has served on the House Appropriations Committee, the House Armed Services Committee, and the House Homeland Security Committee.
Brice Wiggins (Republican)
The Mississippi Senator for District 52, Brice Wiggins, has held his position since 2012 and is now running for Congress. Wiggins has also recently been under fire for using campaign funds improperly in December 2021 when it was revealed that the senator used his state office campaign account to pay for congressional ads. This is prohibited by Federal Election Commission regulators, and the $1,180 Wiggins used was reported to be reimbursed back to the state in December. Wiggins is running on a long list of conservative principles, all of which can be viewed here.
Raymond N. Brooks (Republican)
Raymond Brooks is a veteran of the Gulfport Police Department and announced his running in 2021 during Palazzo’s ethics investigation. In addition to his tenure with Gulfport PD, Raymond has previously served as a School Resource Officer, Warrants Officer, Marine Patrol Officer, S.W.A.T. Sniper, and Patrol Rifle Instructor. Notions that Brooks is running on include finishing the Mexico-United States barrier, putting a halt to taxes going towards abortion, as well as the implementation of term limits.
Mike Ezell (Republican)
Mike Ezell, who has served as the Jackson County Sheriff for the last 14 years, has over 40 years of law enforcement experience. Ezell is running to “ensure that our families live in a country that still believes in public safety, law and order, individual rights and liberties, ethics and integrity, and a free market economy that rewards hard work.”
Clay Wagner (Republican)
With his platform containing numerous conservative principles, Clay Wagner is running for Congress without prior political background. Wagner has expressed that he does not support critical race theory in Mississippi schools, but that STEM should be emphasized instead. He also supports increased border patrol and the implementation of a simpler legal immigration process.
Kidron Peterson (Republican)
Kidron Peterson does not have a political website or Facebook set up currently.
Carl Boyanton (Republican)
Carl Boyanton, the owner of Farmer Fresh Produce, LLC, ran for the representative position of Mississippi’s 4th congressional district in 2020. In recent years, Boyanton sparked the allegations of Palazzo’s improper spending of both Congressional funds and campaign funds and asked for the congressman’s resignation in 2021. Boyanton’s campaign pushes changes to the term limits of Congress and the Senate, better sex education to eliminate the need for abortion, elimination of federal departments, and changing the cost of college loans.
Johnny L. Dupree (Democrat)
A previous candidate for governor and secretary of state, Johnny L. DuPree, the former mayor of Hattiesburg, is running for the position of Mississippi’s 4th congressional district representative. DuPree was the mayor of Hattiesburg from 2001 to 2017 and is running “to ensure that every Mississippian has a fair shot at the American Dream, to rebuild our economy, make government more accessible as well as more accountable to the people of our state.”
David Sellers (Democrat)
A Hattiesburg associate pastor at Parkway Heights and the spiritual director of Pine Grove Behavioral Health & Addiction Services, David Sellers is running on a platform that supports increasing the minimum wage, equal pay, paid leave, and supporting police. Sellers also supports increasing awareness on mental health and the impact it has on drug addiction in the state.
Alden Patrick Johnson (Libertarian)
Alden Patrick Johnson is a lieutenant firefighter and a nationally registered EMT from Petal, who is running for the legalization of marijuana in Mississippi, decreasing taxes, and the removal of regulations on firearms. Johnson is also running on the belief that “we have people incarcerated whose only ‘crime’ was possessing cannabis. We are taxed at every turn. Our government prints billions of dollars, while simultaneously saying there is a coin shortage. Elected representatives vote yes on bills they don’t even bother reading.”
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