Fields set for area legislative contests

Published 6:00 pm Thursday, June 2, 2011

The stage has been set for the 2011 state legislative districtshowdowns.

The qualifying deadline was Wednesday and the area has 11candidates looking for legislative posts including House District92, House District 53, House District 91 and Senate District39.

Incumbent District 53 Rep. Bobby Moak, D-Bogue Chitto, will berunning unopposed and can now focus on winning the election forSpeaker of the House. Moak announced his decision to run forspeaker last week after current Speaker Billy McCoy decided not toseek re-election.

“That’s always the best way to run if you can get there,” saidMoak about not getting any election challengers this year. “Ihaven’t had that luxury, though, in 20 years.”

Moak’s district includes parts of Lincoln, Franklin, Lawrence,Pike and Amite counties.

While Moak will be able to rest from defending his current seat,he will still be hitting the campaign trail as he looks to gainsupport from members of the House of Representatives.

“(Running unopposed) gives you a little more opportunity to getaround the state and talk to those folks who are running for officeand try to get them on your side for a speaker vote,” said Moak. “Iam absolutely going to be doing that.”

Incumbent House Dist. 92 Rep. Becky Currie is the onlyRepublican candidate and she will face one challenger during thegeneral election, scheduled for Nov. 8. The district includes partsof Lincoln, Copiah and Franklin counties.

Ken Dale Sullivan, D-Wesson, qualified Tuesday to run againstCurrie. Sullivan said he was waiting to see how the Democraticfield might pan out before throwing his hat into the politicalring.

“Any time you run against an incumbent, it’s an uphill battle,but I’m not afraid to get out there and work,” said Sullivan.

Sullivan is no stranger to political campaigning.

A graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi, he ran forthe open Senate seat for District 36 during the election of2008.

“I felt like I had a pretty good showing for a young guy with noexperience,” said Sullivan.

Sullivan currently works as an anatomical material specialist atthe University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson and saidhis family’s background in education helps make it one his mainconcerns.

“We need to have people up there that will look out for ourteachers and administrators,” said Sullivan.

Sullivan also mentioned having interests in health care and theMississippi School of the Arts, which legislators have attempted torelocate in previous years.

“The arts in that area has become really strong and I hate tosee the community lose that,” said Sullivan.

Three have qualified to be the representative for House District91, which covers parts of Lawrence, Simpson, Jefferson Davis,Copiah and Covington counties.

Incumbent District 91 Rep. Bob Evans, D-Monticello, is unopposedfor the Democratic Party nomination. In the November 8 generalelection, he will face either Cindy Shivers Bryan or Jimmy HurstBarton, who are scheduled to face off in the Republican primary onAug. 2.

With Dist. 39 Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith looking to become the nextagriculture commissioner, the open seat will be the mostsought-after in the upcoming election. The district includes all ofLincoln and Lawrence counties and part of Simpson County.

Qualified Republicans for the Senate seat include Brookhaven’sBill Boerner and Sally Dotty and Monticello’s David Nichols II. TheDemocratic Party will look to nominate either Brookhaven’s W.L.Rayborn or Bogue Chitto’s Michael Smith for the Senate seat.

The legislative qualifying deadline was pushed back this year toWednesday because of uncertainty of legislative redistricting.Candidates are seeking four-year terms that will start inJanuary.