May 28, 2015 10:36:57 AM
The contest for Mississippi's Northern District transportation commissioner narrowed to three Wednesday after Hernando Mayor Chip Johnson formally dropped out of the race.
In a statement issued by Johnson's office, the mayor said he withdrew since incumbent Mike Tagert, a Republican from Starkville, recommitted to the election after a failed bid for former U.S. Rep. Alan Nunnelee's vacant seat.
"Something has simply not felt right about running against Commissioner Tagert," Johnson said in the release. "In my mind, there are two reasons to run for election: an open seat or to try and defeat an incumbent that is not performing adequately. Neither of these scenarios is present in this race."
Tagert turned his focus back to the Northern District race after he fell behind Republican Trent Kelly and Democrat Walter Zinn in this month's U.S House special election.
Tagert faces a Republican challenger, Lee County's Jimmie Mills, in August's primary. The winner of that race will go against Winona Democrat Danny Woods in November's general election.
Carl Smith covers Starkville and Oktibbeha County for The Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter @StarkDispatch
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