Candidates for Secretary of State Johnny Dupree, Michael Watson and Sam Britton spoke at the Neshoba County Fair on why they is running for the office.

Since being voted out of the Hattiesburg mayor’s seat in 2017, Dupree has spent the last two years teaching at Southern Miss and building engagement among young people.

Dupree says he’s uniquely qualified to deal with 16th Section Land, which is one of the duties of Secretary of State. He’s a real estate broker and has been since 1988. According to Dupree, he’s the only candidate that has actually worked with the Secretary of State to get tax-forfeited land back on the roll.

He added that he never raised taxes while mayor of Hattiesburg.

Dupree said his experience readies him for this job, as he’s managed 800 employees, a 200 million dollar budget, disaster relief through tornadoes and Katrina.

If elected to office, Dupree aims to increase access to the roads. He aims to increase voter engagement and access while utilizing more paper ballots to ensure accuracies.

The former mayor believes he can win in a red state because he believes people vote for the person over the party—and adds that he’s vastly more qualified.

He said another goal of his is to take a look at campaign finance reform, saying that millions of dollars to one candidate shouldn’t keep another person who can’t afford it from running for office.

Senator Michael Watson is leaving the Senate and running for Secretary of State. He spoke to guests at the fair on why he is running for the statewide office.

Watson said he was approached by the Governor three years ago. But that’s not the only reason he wants the job. He said someone in this position needs to understand the workings in office and what’s already in place.

Watson says his opponent called for voter ID… but it’s already in place.

Watson touts endorsements by Right to Life and Gov. Bryant.

The American Family Association rated him as very conservative. This separates him from his opponent, according to Watson, as he doesn’t have the history of running as or supporting Democrats.

The Secretary of State hopeful says he has a plan together to ensure only citizens are voting, and that if they cannot show proof of citizenship, they can’t vote.

Watson said he is tackling DMV reform head-on with a plan he outlines on his website–and claims his opponent pushed DMV situation away.

Sam Britton, one of the Republican candidates running for Secretary of State spoke at the 2019 Neshoba County Fair on Wednesday.

Britton wasted no time lashing back at opponent Michael Watson’s speech.

“He’s angry,” said Britton. “I guess he’s angry that I’m telling the truth about his record.”

Britton said he’s running for Secretary of State because of things he wanted to add more to Mississippi’s success story.

Britton said he will work with elections leaders to make sure elections stay fair, and that voter ID remains in place.

“We need to get Mississippi off the bottom,” said Britton.

Bringing strong leadership and economic goals are what Britton said are his top priorities. Money saved would go to infrastructure and education.