What has been ten full months of unusually intense electioneering in Union County is about to end with the Nov. 3rd general election. Local voters will vote in 15 statewide or legislative races, 16 contests for Union County offices and on competing proposed amendments to the state constitution.
Except in two statewide races incumbent Republicans — governor, lieutenant-governor, secretary of state, etc. — are expected to handily defeat Democratic Party challengers with little name recognition, who have had little support, financial or otherwise, from the nearly invisible state Democratic party.
Two incumbent Democrats, Attorney-General Jim Hood and Northern District Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley, face Republican challengers.
Mississippi Attorney-General Jim Hood, a three-term Democrat from Chickasaw County, faces challenger Mike Hurst, a well-financed Republican, who has been an assistant U. S. Attorney for six years.
Before being elected attorney-general for the first time in 2003 Hood had been district attorney for the Third Circuit Court District, which includes Union County. Hood easily won re-election in 2007 and 2011, and has enjoyed widespread bi-partisan support. He has received national recognition for success in prosecuting cases related to child pornography, domestic abuse and elder abuse.
Hurst, who hails from Newton County, has run a high-profile, campaign and has emphasized he will fight “corruption” if elected. Hurst cites his role in successfully prosecuting former Mississippi Corrections Commissioner Chris Epps for accepting bribes while he ran the state prison system. Epps was first appointed to head the corrections department by Democratic Governor Ronnie Musgrove in 2002 and was re-appointed to the position by Republican Governors Haley Barbour in 2004 and Phil Bryant in 2012.
Although Hurst has run a strong campaign, most bets are on Jim Hood to win and remain the only Democrat in statewide office in Mississippi. The simple fact is that Democrat Jim Hood probably has more Republican friends in Mississippi than Mike Hurst.
Northern District Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley, a Democrat, is completing his second term in that office. Presley also enjoys broad bi-partisan support and is expected to easily beat Republican challenger Mike Maynard. Presley, who was elected mayor of Nettleton, Miss., at age 23, has been mentioned as a possible candidate for Mississippi governor in 2019. Polls showed he could probably have won election as U.S. Congressman for the First District of Mississippi in the special election earlier this year, but he chose not to run.
The February death of First District Congressman Alan Nunnelee resulted in a non-partisan election to elect a replacement for the rest of his term. Thirteen candidates entered that race which was eventually won in a run-off election by District Attorney Trent Kelly of Lee County.
After the congressional election had kept Union County election officials unexpectedly busy for the first part of the year, the party primary races created a heavy work load for the next several months and was followed by continued work on the general election.
Although several Union County officials will be re-elected without opposition, nine of 16 county races have both Republicans and Democrats on the general election ballot, and four races have “Independent” candidates. It is believed to be the most Republicans on a Union County ballot since the “Reconstruction” period, which followed the American Civil War in the 1860s and 1870s.
One of the 16 Republican candidates on the general election ballot has been disqualified by the Mississippi Supreme Court. See link below.
Union County voters will also vote on two competing constitutional amendments regarding the financing of public education in the state.
See the links below for more details about Union County races.
To see the sample ballot : Nov 2015 Ballot
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