March 1, 2014 10:26:06 PM
Former U.S. Rep. Travis Childers, D-Booneville, re-entered Mississippi politics Friday, declaring his candidacy for U.S. Senate.
Childers will face Bill Marcy, who ran twice for the state's Second Congressional District, in the June 3 Democratic Primary.
The winner will then face the Republican Primary winner, a contest between two-term state Sen. Chris McDaniel, R-Ellisville, and incumbent U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran, in the November
Cochran, 76, is Mississippi's senior senator who serves as the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry's ranking member. He was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1978.
Childers became Mississippi's First Congressional District representative in 2008 after former Gov. Haley Barbour appointed then-U.S. Rep. Roger Wicker to the Senate after U.S. Sen. Trent Lott resigned.
Childers won a special run-off election that year against Republican Greg Davis and would again defeat the Southaven mayor in November's General Election.
A run-off election was needed because Childers and Davis both failed to secure a 50 percent-plus-one-vote majority in April 2008's special election.
Childers carried Clay County in the special election and both Clay and Lowndes counties in the run-off.
Both counties again would back Childers in that year's November election.
Current U.S. Rep. Alan Nunnelee, a Republican, unseated Childers in the 2010 General Election. In the nine-candidate race, he secured 55.26 percent of the district-wide vote - more than 121,000 ballots - compared to Childers' 40.8 percent.
Childers held control of Clay County, beating Nunnelee there by about 1,600 votes, but lost Lowndes County by a 770-ballot margin.
After redistricting, a small portion of Oktibbeha County now falls within the 1st Congressional District, but the circuit clerk's office was unable to produce the number of those registered voters Friday. The First District stretches from Mississippi's northwestern border with Arkansas and Tennessee across to Tishimingo County, which borders Alabama and Tennessee, spanning south to Lowndes County and as far east as Panola, Grenada and Tate Counties.
The state's last Democrat to serve in the Senate was John C. Stennis, who retired in 1989.
"I've never been in a race that I didn't intend to win," Childers, 55, told the Associated Press Friday.
Before serving in Congress, Childers served as Prentiss County's chancery clerk for more than 16 years.
Also Friday, former U.S. Rep. Gene Taylor announced he would run against U.S. Rep. Steven Palazzo for the 4th Congressional District seat, one the incumbent previously ousted him from in 2010.
Taylor, a former Democrat, is running as a Republican. The 4th Congressional District stretches from the Gulf of Mexico up to southern Clarke County, fully or partially spanning 14 counties.
The winner of that race will face the winner of the Democratic Primary between Trish Causey and Matt Moore.
Carl Smith covers Starkville and Oktibbeha County for The Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter @StarkDispatch
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