State Republican hopefuls to face off in June debate

Published 8:23 pm Tuesday, May 28, 2019

A Lincoln County group is helping organize a debate between Republican candidates for governor, attorney general and secretary of state.

The Mississippi Federation of College Republicans and Lincoln County Republican Women will host the 2019 Southwest Mississippi Republican Debate June 7 at Southwest Mississippi Community College.

The public is invited to this free event, which will begin at 7 p.m. in the Hurst Auditorium. Doors open at 6 p.m.

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Hannah Mason, of Brookhaven, executive director of the Mississippi Federation of College Republicans, said the event began with an idea from Sam Edwards, chairman of the SMCC Republicans.

“It heightens my enthusiasm and encourages me to see college students across the State of Mississippi involving themselves in political processes,” she said. “As a student myself, it is exciting to see others wanting to engage in such important matters. Because of my involvement in politics, I have had the opportunity to meet many influential individuals, regularly attend meetings at the Capitol and now assist in leading informative events, such as this debate, for voters.”

After a few discussions, the MFCR and Lincoln County Republican Women got involved and took on the hosting duties.

“We’re immensely grateful that Lincoln County Republican Women was willing to co-host this event with us,” she said.

Gubernatorial candidates Bill Waller Jr., former Chief Justice of the Mississippi Supreme Court, and State Rep. Robert Foster have agreed to participate in the debate.

Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves declined to participate because “he will not be in the area,” Mason said.

Attorney General candidates Andy Taggart and State Rep. Mark Baker have also agreed to participate in the evening’s debate. Treasurer Lynn Fitch has a “prior commitment” and will not be participating, Mason said.

Secretary of State candidate Sen. Michael Watson will be participating in the evening’s events, however, Commissioner Sam Britton has a scheduling conflict, she said.

Mason is grateful to those candidates who will be able to participate.

“We understand that it is an election year and every candidate has a busy schedule; however, we truly regret that all candidates will not be participating in the debate,” she said. “All Republican candidates for these offices were invited and asked to participate. The organization’s purpose in hosting the debate is to ensure that voters in Southwest Mississippi are adequately educated about all Republican candidates for governor, attorney general and secretary of state.”

For more information about MFCR, LCRW or the debate, contact Mason at 601-754-4262 or