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Competition heats up for legislative seats

- Seven candidates have qualified to seek the Senate District 4 post held by Travis Little of Corinth.

By Patsy R. Brumfield

Daily Journal

When an incumbent legislator decides not to seek re-election, you can bet a lot of folks will want to win that seat.

Equally interesting to political observers, veteran officeholders drew opposition throughout Northeast Mississippi - including House Speaker Billy McCoy, D-Rienzi. The race is filled out by Democrat Truman Lambert of Marietta and Republicans William Arnold, Jimmy Wayne Russell and Benny DeVaughn, all of Booneville.

The statewide qualifying deadline fell at 5 p.m. Thursday for public office ranging from county justice judges to governor. Party primaries are in August, with the general election Nov. 6.

In Northeast Mississippi, among the open seat contests are:

- House District 19 - Four Democrats have qualified - Brandon Cherry of Mooreville, Edwin B. Coleman of Tupelo, and Mark Duvall and Scotty Farris of Mantachie; with Republican Randy Boyd of Mantachie. Democrat incumbent Jamie Franks of Mooreville is running for lieutenant governor.

- House District 20 - Democrats Robert A. Mitchell of Amory, Jimmy G. Puckett of Amory and David Whitaker of Hamilton will face each other, with the winner running against Republican Chris Brown of Aberdeen. Incumbent J.B. Markham of Greenwood Springs, a Democrat, withdrew soon after he qualified.

- House District 21 - Seven candidates have qualified. Democrats are Donnie Bell and Joseph Jones of Fulton, Marilyn Richmond of Amory and Michael Sullivan of Nettleton. Republicans are Phil Brown of Smithville, Paul Walker of Fulton and Michael Warren of Tremont. Long-time legislator Bill Miles of Fulton decided to retire.

In the Senate some incumbents will return to office without opposition - Democrats Nickey Browning of Pontotoc, Gray Tollison of Oxford and Bennie Turner of West Point; and Republicans Gary Jackson of French Camp and Terry Brown of Columbus.

When veteran senator Travis Little of Corinth decided to retire, the political hopefuls came out in force for the District 4 seat: eight candidates, five Democrats and three Republicans.

Republican and Democratic party strategists have worked to field candidates in almost every other race.

Besides Rep. McCoy, other long-time legislators drawing opponents are Hob Bryan, D-Amory; Jack Gordon, D-Okolona; and Alan Nunnelee, Tupelo, in the Senate, and Ricky Cummings, D-Iuka, Harvey Moss, D-Corinth, Jack Gadd, D-Hickory Flat, and Steve Holland, D-Plantersville in the House.

Contact Daily Journal news editor Patsy R. Brumfield at 678-1596 or patsy.brumfield@djournal.com.

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