Four special election runoffs were held Tuesday to fill vacancies in the Mississippi House and Senate. All races were non-partisan, meaning candidates do not declare a party affiliation and no party is listed on the ballot. The winners will determine which party to caucus with upon being sworn-in to their new seats in the state House and Senate.
However, based on the known political affinity of the candidates, the results will not shift the power balance in the Mississippi Legislature.
The winners from Tuesday are listed below.
Senate District 15
Bart Williams, a Starkville businessman, defeated professor Joyce Meek Yates with a vote of 54% to 46%. Williams will serve the remaining term of Gary Jackson who resigned earlier this year. The original field in this race featured 4 candidates vying for the seat.
Williams is expected to caucus with the Republican majority. He says in his campaign ad below, “Once elected starting day one, I will fight for our conservative values at all costs…”
Senate District 39
In what started out as a 9 person race, Jason Barrett defeated Bill Sones to replace Sally Doty who resigned to lead the Public Utilities Staff.
Barrett is a self-described “pro-life Republican” and will expected to caucus with the Republican majority in the Senate. See how Barrett speaks of himself and issues important to him in the flyer below.
House District 37
Lynn Wright defeated David Chism by a 64% to 36% margin to replace Gary Chism who retired earlier this year. Wright is the former Superintendent of Education for the Lowndes County School District. This initial race featured 3 candidates.
Wright is expected to caucus with the Republican majority. He described himself in a Facebook comment as a “conservative Republican,” and spoke of his Christian faith as an influence.
“I am a conservative Republican. My Christian faith influences my positions on issues. I am pro-life, pro-education, pro-prayer anywhere, pro-law enforcement/first responders, pro-military, pro-constitution, and pro-second amendment,” Wright wrote. “I believe in an effective, efficient government. I believe we live in the greatest nation on earth, a nation that has been blessed by God and is “One Nation Under God”!”
House District 66
After running for Public Service Commissioner unsuccessfully in 2019, Jackson City Councilman DeKeither Stamps won a seat in the Legislature over Robert C. “Bob” Lee, Jr. with a vote of 62% to 38%. Stamps will replace Jarvis Dortch who resigned to become director of the ACLU. Six candidates faced off in the first round election.
Given his party affiliation as a councilman and in the 2019 election cycle, Stamps is expected to caucus with the Democrat minority in the House, just as did his predecessor.
There will be another special election to fill a legislative vacancy for House District 87. This race will be on the November 3rd General Election ballot.