Because of January 1 falling on a Sunday and then the holiday on Monday, yesterday was technically the first day a candidate can file to run for the House or Senate. For those wanting to run they need to act fast, the qualifying period ends on January 13, two months before the March 13 primary which is earlier than usual thanks to the presidential primary.
** Roger Wicker hasn’t qualified yet but will do so in the next couple days. At the same time, the Democrats got a candidate on the first day. Al Gore, no not the former Vice President, but a retired Army chaplain and chairman of the Oktibbeha County Democratic Party, who name is Albert N. Gore, Jr. has entered the race. Obviously not the biggest name in the world and while I don’t expect a name brand Democrat to enter we will see if someone like a former legislator with at least some name recognition enters.
** Alan Nunnelee will again face a challenger from within the party, with third-party candidates also likely, as he runs for a second term in MS-01. The bigger question is whether Democrats run a candidate. None came forward yesterday, but Southaven Tea Party activist Robert Estes did qualify as a Republican. Estes operates the website, “Where’s America’s Jobs?” As for other potential challengers, Henry Ross did not formally enter yesterday but he is building a campaign. I have been told that Ross has already begun polling in the district.
** Bennie Thompson has qualified for another term in MS-02, while his 2010 Republican opponent Bill Marcy is in as well. Nothing official yet from Heather McTeer although it’s a matter of time.
** Gregg Harper has qualified for re-election in MS-03.
** Running against Steven Palazzo in MS-04, so far, are Republican Ron Vincent and Democrat Michael Herrington. Both candidates are from Hattiesburg, which is an important issue in this district that stretches from the Pine Belt to the Coast. We are obviously still waiting on other big names; on both the GOP side and potentially with Gene Taylor making a comeback. They have nine days to get in.
** On the presidential side, Mitt Romney ever so narrowly defeated Rick Santorum in Iowa yesterday. In polling of Mississippi, Newt Gingrich had had a commanding lead among primary voters but that was before he began to slide. Unless he can somehow come back or Santorum can build a full campaign operation, the nomination will likely be sowed up by the time Mississippians head to the polls. We will see if voters have warmed up to Romney by that point.