TUPELO • With campaigns for federal elections now underway, Northeast Mississippians in the state’s 1st U.S. Congressional district will have the opportunity in November to re-elect an incumbent for a third time or send a political newcomer to Washington.
Antonia Eliason, a law professor at the University of Mississippi, officially launched her campaign on Monday to run for the U.S. House of Representatives in the state’s 1st congressional district.
Eliason is the only Democratic candidate in the race, so she will presumably be the Democratic Party’s nominee. In a change from typical campaigns in the state, Eliason is running as a Democratic Socialist and said she wants to bring “new energy to the political landscape of Northeast Mississippi.”
“I am a dedicated champion of working Mississippians,” Eliason said in a statement. “We must confront poverty, inequality, and racial discrimination at their source. With the right policies at the national and state level and with the engagement of grassroots social movements, Mississippi could become a hub for sustainable development thanks to our abundant resources.”
Eliason moved to Oxford in 2013 to teach law at the university after practicing law in London for almost five years. At the university, Eliason teaches international trade law, International investment law, and contracts.
She is challenging incumbent U.S. Rep. Trent Kelly, a Republican. Kelly is a resident of Saltillo and was a district attorney for the state’s first judicial district in Northeast Mississippi. He has served for nearly 30 years in the Mississippi Army National Guard.
Kelly won a special election in 2015 for the 1st Congressional seat after the death of former U.S. Rep. Alan Nunnelee. He subsequently won re-election in 2016 and 2018.
“As a member of Congress, I have strived to advocate for policies that improve the quality of life for the citizens of the First Congressional District,” Kelly said in a statement through a campaign spokesman. “I am honored to have the trust of my fellow Mississippians and will continue to work hard on their behalf.”
Kelly is the only Republican who has qualified in the race, so he will presumably be the Republican Party’s nominee.
According to the latest filings from the Federal Elections Commission, Kelly has received $267,449.49 in campaign donations and has $113,480.86 in cash on hand. Eliason has not received any donations and does not have any cash on hand, according to the FEC.
Even though both Eliason and Kelly will be on the ballot in the primary elections on March 10, neither candidate has a primary opponent. This means, by default, the two will face each other in federal midterm elections on Nov. 3, alongside the presidential election.