The 4th Congressional District will not be the only race to watch next year after all.
Thus far, the mid-term attention in Mississippi has been on the 4th Congressional District where incumbent Congressman Steven Palazzo is likely to face a number of primary challengers as well as potential general election opponents in 2022. This is due, in large part, to the ongoing ethics inquiry that is pending in the U.S. House related to the use of campaign funds, leading some to believe the six term Republican could be vulnerable.
Palazzo has currently drawn three Republican challengers along with a Libertarian and an Independent opponent.
But the South Mississippi district will not be the only seat where challengers are lining up to take on the current incumbent.
In the 1st Congressional District, Democrat Hunter Kyle Avery of Belmont filed to run against Republican incumbent Congressman Trent Kelly in April. Avery is currently the only one to date signed up to run in this race against Kelly.
Little is known about Avery as of yet, however his Facebook page indicates his support for increased unionization, LGBTQ policies, and other traditional Democratic talking points. He used an Independence Day post to say Blacks and Native Americans had been lied to by America.
“It is time that we accept our dark past and work to make amends for it,” Avery wrote on July 4th. “This country was built on the backs and blood of black and indigenous people and not once have we ever apologized or said thank you for their contributions.”
Avery’s Statement of Organization with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) can be found here. No campaign finance reports have yet been filed by Avery.
Congressman Kelly has served in the U.S. House since winning a special election in 2015. He has won re-election easily, drawing nearly 70% of the vote each time.
In 2020, he defeated self-described Democratic-Socialist Antonia Eliason 69% to 31%. Kelly’s March 2021 FEC campaign finance report showed the Congressman with $175,000 cash on hand.
Down the road in the 2nd Congressional District, incumbent Democrat Bennie Thompson continues to have the advantage no matter who enters the race on the Republican side. This is due both to the voting demographics in the district and the sizeable war chest Thompson has built during his time in office.
Thompson, currently the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee and a key ally of Speaker Nancy Pelosi, is reporting $1.6 million cash on hand as of June 2021. He has held the seat for just shy of 30 years, winning a special election in 1993. Thompson has not faced a serious primary challenger in decades and averages nearly 67% of the general election vote each re-election cycle.
Thompson’s 2020 Republican challenger, Brian Flowers, has indicated that he could try again in 2022. Flowers only drew 34% of the vote last November and shows $418 cash on hand in his campaign coffers as of the March 2021 FEC report.
Another Republican candidate has emerged this week in the 2nd Congressional District. Ron Eller announced Wednesday on Facebook that he would be running to unseat Thompson in 2022. No FEC reports are yet online, however he is actively seeking donations on his website here.
“I stand for Free Enterprise, Limited Government, Individual Liberties, National Defense, and Traditional Values. I am ready and willing to standup and fight for the American People. I have worked in both the private and public sectors. I had served twenty years on active duty in the military. I have worked in the private healthcare sector for more than twenty years. As well as started my own businesses in manufacturing,” Eller wrote on his social media announcement, adding, “Congressman Bennie Thompson spent over $2.2 million dollars during the November 2020 election. It will be hard to overcome the Democratic Machine.”
In the 3rd Congressional District, incumbent Republican Congressman Michael Guest won a crowded primary in 2018 to replace retiring Congressman Gregg Harper. He has gone on to win re-election, averaging 63% of the general election vote in his two races.
Guest’s March 2021 FEC campaign finance report shows the Congressman with $260,000 cash on hand.
Democrats did not lean into a challenge of Guest in 2020, running a candidate with little name ID and no financial resources to speak of. However, a new challenger is now making his rounds. Former Obama and Clinton campaign staffer Shuwaski Young has announced his candidacy for the 3rd District seat.
Young is originally from Philadelphia, Mississippi, but has worked out of state on Democrat campaigns for a number of years. He spent time working in the Mississippi Secretary of State’s office before working for the Department of Homeland Security, the Obama 2012 campaign, and the Clinton 2016 campaign. Most recently, Young has been an organizer with the California Democratic Party.
On his campaign website found here, Young promotes the Democrat-backed “For the People Act” that would alter how state’s run their elections and calls for increased infrastructure funding as a result of climate change.
No campaign finance reports are showing for Young as he filed to run in early July.
Below are the most recent FEC campaign filings on record for each Mississippi Congressional District and candidate. Y’all Politics will update these as the new quarterly reports are made available by the FEC online.
Congressional Campaign Finance Reports
Congressman Trent Kelly (R):
- Raised: $100,218 (July 2021)
- Cash on Hand: $163,793 (July 2021)
Hunter Kyle Avery (D): No report shown
Congressman Bennie Thompson (D):
- Raised $206,105 (July 2021)
- Cash on Hand: $1,600,013 (July 2021)
Brian Flowers (R):
- Raised: $62 (March 2021)
- Cash on Hand: $418 (March 2021)
Ron Eller (R): No report shown.
Congressman Michael Guest (R):
- Raised $13,360 (July 2021)
- Cash on Hand: $246,780 (July 2021)
Shuwaski Young (D): No report shown.
Congressman Steven Palazzo (R):
- Raised: $117,398 (July 2021)
- Cash on Hand: $320,096 (July 2021)
Mike Ezell (R):
- Raised: $105,202 (July 2021)
- Cash on Hand: $102,799 (July 2021)
Carl Boyanton (R):
- Raised: $59,400 (July 2021)
- Cash on Hand: $45,495 (July 2021)
Raymond Brooks (R):
- Raised: $11,131 (July 2021)
- Cash on Hand: $8,970 (July 2021)
- Raised: $10 (July 2021)
- Cash on Hand: $102 (July 2021)
Jesse Hudson (I): No report shown.