Littlejohn returns to congressional race
By Philip Moulden
New Albany attorney Talmadge Littlejohn rejoined the 1st District congressional race Monday, but he was vague about his plans following the April 2 Democratic runoff.
Littlejohn announced Friday he was pulling out of the race, but Secretary of State Eric Clark ruled Monday it was too late.
"Mississippi election law does not allow any candidate to withdraw after ballots have been printed," Clark's office stated in a press release. "Since all ballots for the runoff election have been printed and absentee votes have already been cast, Mr. Littlejohn may not effectively withdraw. His name will be on the ballot."
Littlejohn faces Holly Springs paralegal Henry Boyd Jr. in the Democratic runoff. Boyd collected 46 percent of a very light vote in the Super Tuesday primary election March 12. Littlejohn was second in the three-man race with 44 percent.
The winner is to face incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Roger Wicker of Tupelo in the November general election.
But Littlejohn hedged Monday on his plans if he wins the runoff.
"I'm not going to speculate as to what happens at this time," Littlejohn said when asked whether he would still withdraw if he wins the runoff.
But moments later he responded: "I stand by my (withdrawal) statement."
Littlejohn on Friday cited an "answer" to a prayer, a distaste for raising campaign contributions, and obligations to his legal practice and family as his reasons for pulling out of the race.
Yet Monday he concluded: "My name is on the ballot and people can vote for who they want. ... "I'm still considering that decision (next step) at this point. I got more encouragement (from supporters) than I've ever had today."
Boyd labeled the whole episode "a gimmick." He said he contacted the state Democratic Party Monday and was told it had never received notice of withdrawal from Littlejohn.
"He knew we wasn't going to withdraw, otherwise he would have contacted the state party," Boyd said.
"It's just a gimmick to try to get people not to come out and vote. I've always told my folks to go the the polls (April 2) and vote. ... I knew he never legally withdrew."