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Race for Congress gets crowded

Rep. Gregg Harper’s soon-to-be-vacant congressional seat has so far attracted three Republicans officially, and one more who plans to make it official Monday.

Michael Guest of Brandon, Whit Hughes of Madison and Perry Parker of Seminary have qualified for the 3rd District seat. Brookhaven’s Sally Doty said Friday that she plans to qualify next week.

Guest was in town Friday after making campaign appearances in Brandon and Meridian earlier in the week.

Guest said he supports small government, family values, law and order, and the Second Amendment. In a brief meeting with The Daily Leader, he spoke mostly about his experience as a district attorney.

Guest has plenty of connections in the voter rich counties of Madison and Rankin, and  Hughes does as well. Those two counties account for almost half of the 3rd District’s votes. That gives either a natural advantage over a candidate from anywhere else. Those who bet would likely put money on Harper’s replacement hailing from the suburbs of Jackson.

But neither Guest nor Hughes have legislative experience, something that both would probably point out is not necessarily a bad thing. Doty has experience and a legislative record to examine. But she may not have the name recognition needed across the 3rd District, at least not at this point.

Voters who pay attention to what the Legislature does in Jackson no doubt know her name, and there’s no doubting that Southwest Mississippi does as well. But would that be enough? She is probably asking herself that same thing.

We are happy to see Doty join the race. She has been a level-headed legislator in Jackson and has advocated for common-sense legislation. Her biggest advantage is that she has legislative experience. In a political climate that values outsiders, experience isn’t always appreciated. But all other things being equal, we would pick the candidate with experience as a legislator.

It certainly would not hurt for Southwest Mississippi to have a stronger connection to our representative in D.C.