The South Mississippi Battleground
One of the most Republicans areas of the state on a statewide level, South Mississippi is home to a number of House and Senate Democrats who will likely see some of the most competitive legislative elections this November just a year after longtime popular Democrat Gene Taylor was booted from office.
As we look today, there are five House that are either immediately competitive or may potentially become competitive with time. Two of the most competitive are races I talked about last week: HD 105 and HD 111. As of right now, Shaun Walley and Brandon Jones should expect serious fights in their quest for re-election.
Three other South Mississippi House races, however, are also sitting on that fence and may become competitive with time; although redistricting will likely have a major say in their outcome. So far, Republicans have lined up challengers in HD 93, 107, and 121. These are seats currently held by Dirk Dedeaux, Deryk Parker, and Diane Peranich, respectively. Dedeaux and Peranich have yet to file papers to run again (as of last week), and Parker has announced he will not run again. All three of those districts went pretty strong for Haley Barbour last time around, and would certainly be prime pickup territory if Republicans can convince voters to vote for the same party in the legislative elections as they do in statewide elections.
We’ll wait to see the new maps before making too many judgments, and that may be what Dedeaux and Peranich are thinking as well. But with five potentially competitive House races, South Mississippi could become a major battleground electing the next Speaker of the House.
Note: Made corrections to the status of Deryk Parker, who has opted against running for re-election.