June 1, 2010 11:24:00 AM
Mississippi congressional candidates face the challenge of attracting voters for party primaries that follow the long Memorial Day weekend.
Polls will be open 7 a.m.-7 p.m. today.
Voters will be greeted with a sparse ballot, with only one race in each of the four U.S. House districts. None of the incumbents will be listed because they don''t have primaries. Only their opposite-party challengers are being chosen.
"As far as I can tell, there''s activity everywhere -- not a lot by any means, but there is activity," Lowndes County Circuit Clerk Haley Salazar said this morning.
Lowndes has one race, the 1st District Republican primary, on its ballot today.
Republican primaries are also being held in the 2nd and 4th districts, and a Democratic primary is in the 3rd.
If runoffs are needed, they''ll be June 22. The general election is Nov. 2.
North Mississippi race
In north Mississippi''s 1st District, the Republican primary candidates are former Fox News analyst Angela McGlowan of Oxford, state Sen. Alan Nunnelee of Tupelo and former Eupora Mayor Henry Ross.
The nominee will face Democratic incumbent Travis Childers of Booneville and seven other candidates in November.
Nunnelee, who chairs the state Senate Appropriations Committee, said recently in Corinth that Congress shouldn''t pass massive bills without reading them first.
"Unless there''s a state of emergency or unless we are at war, I think the legislation ought to be put on the Internet to be able to be reviewed by the American people 72 hours before you cast a vote," Nunnelee said.
McGlowan told a Pontotoc audience that career politicians are hurting the country. She said officials need to improve schools, get tough on crime and penalize business that hire people who are in the country illegally.
"Washington, D.C., has run amok," McGlowan said.
Ross, campaigning in Holly Springs, said federal spending is out of control.
"You can''t borrow and spend your way to prosperity, or tax your way to prosperity," Ross said.
Battle in the Delta
In the Delta''s 2nd District, three are in the Republican primary: Richard Cook of Byram, a teacher who ran for the seat in 2008; George Bailey of Clinton; and Bill Marcy of Meridian, who ran unsuccessfully for a state House seat in Meridian in 2009.
Democrat Bennie Thompson of Bolton has represented the district since 1993 and chairs the House Homeland Security Committee.
The November ballot will have Thompson, the Republican nominee and a Reform Party candidate.
Congressional candidates aren''t required to live in the district where they''re running. Marcy lives outside the 2nd District, but he said that hasn''t been an issue.
"Bennie Thompson is so disliked and hated in the district that people are overlooking that I''m a carpetbagger, so to speak," Marcy said in April at the state Capitol.
Marcy, a former Chicago police officer who is black, has been seeking support from conservatives in the tea party movement. On his campaign website, he says: "The policies of the Liberal establishment have kept America''s poor in a perpetual state of slavery and encouraged a plantation mentality to the point that almost half of America now votes for who can ''give'' them the most instead of those who can actually help them the most."
Third District primary
Candidates in Tuesday''s central Mississippi''s 3rd District Democratic primary are Pickens Mayor Joel Gill, who opposed Harper two years ago; James D. Jackson of Brandon; and Shawn O''Hara of Hattiesburg, who has run unsuccessfully for many Mississippi offices.
Republican Gregg Harper of Pearl was first elected in the 3rd District in 2008. The November ballot will have Harper, the Democratic nominee and a Reform Party candidate.
Gill and O''Hara live outside the district. Gill, a livestock dealer, said if he''d been in Congress, he would''ve supported federal stimulus spending because he believes road construction, water-system repairs and other projects have helped keep state and local taxes low. Gill said he would''ve voted against bailouts for banks and auto makers because, "I do not believe that you are ever too big to fail."
Jackson is a sociology professor at Holmes Community College. He says on his campaign website that he wants to shrink federal government, eliminate the national debt and require elementary and secondary schools to teach personal finance courses.
O''Hara said this is his fourth run for the U.S. House. He has run five times for the U.S. Senate, once for state treasurer and four times for governor. He said he has applied to run for political office but has been kicked off the ballot 21 times -- sometimes, because he tried to run for more than one statewide office at a time.
"I''ve just begun my political career. I''m not giving up," O''Hara said. "I believe in the people. But most importantly, I believe in Jesus."
South Mississippi showdown
In south Mississippi''s 4th District, the Republican primary candidates are Steven Palazzo, an accountant and freshman state representative from Biloxi; and businessman Joe Tegerdine of Petal, who has been courting tea party voters.
Democrat Gene Taylor of Bay St. Louis has represented the district since 1989.
The November ballot will have Taylor, the Republican nominee, a Libertarian and a Reform Party candidate.
Palazzo said people should support him because he''s a lifelong south Mississippi resident, has a conservative voting record in the state House, runs his own CPA business and served in combat as a Marine during the Persian Gulf war.
"We need somebody to go to Congress who is going to reduce the spending, who''s going to keep taxes low so we can create jobs," Palazzo said.
Tegerdine, who grew up in Portland, Ore., and Seattle, has lived in Mississippi three years. He works for a sales and marketing firm in Hattiesburg. Tegerdine picked up endorsements this past week from tea party groups.
"We''re a people''s campaign," Tegerdine said. "I''m being endorsed by regular folks who are getting involved because they want to see some real positive change in the way our federal government is doing business."