Quarterly campaign finance reports show Congressman Palazzo will not have an easy road to re-election in 2022.

The Republican primary in Mississippi’s 4th Congressional District is shaping up to not only be a free-for-all but a drain on the wallets of candidates and donors alike.

Incumbent Congressman Steven Palazzo is the most vulnerable he has been in seeking reelection since he first won the office, defeating longtime former Democratic Congressman Gene Taylor in 2010.

A lingering U.S. House ethics inquiry into his use of campaign funds, the persistent social media moniker “No Show Palazzo” is following him around, and the perception that he has “gone Washington” is feeding the idea that anyone could unseat him in the 2022 midterms – and “anyone” appears to be signing up.

To date, five Republicans have submitted their paperwork to run for the South Mississippi Congressional seat to challenge Palazzo. At least one or two more Republicans are likely to announce in the coming weeks. One Democrat, one Libertarian and one Independent have also announced their runs, and there are rumors of others who could jump in before qualifying ends in early 2022.

Of the five Republicans currently in the race versus Palazzo, one has loaned himself a half a million dollars, another has put in $150,000, and another has raised $173,000 since signing up. Palazzo himself is sitting on over $300,000 in his campaign war chest.

CAMPAIGN FINANCE REPORTS

Here is a quick rundown of the October 2021 campaign finance reports for the 4th Congressional District with notes on each candidate:

Steven Palazzo – Incumbent (R)

Congressman Palazzo raised over $67,000 this reporting period and shows $305,000 cash on hand. Both numbers are higher at this point in the cycle than two years prior when Palazzo reported raising $56,000 and sitting on $257,000 cash on hand in October 2019 heading into the 2020 election. Palazzo went on to win the four-man Republican Primary in 2020 pulling in over 66% of the vote.

Carl Boyanton (R)

Boyanton, a retired businessman, ran unsuccessfully in the 2020 Republican Primary, finishing last among the field of four and drawing just over 9% of the vote. He has now loaned himself $500,000 this reporting period for this 2022 run. Boyanton only raised $4,900 in contributions this period. With his personal loan, he now sits at $536,000 cash on hand.

Mike Ezell (R)

Ezell is the Sheriff of Jackson County. To date, he is the leader in contributions to his campaign among the Republican challengers, pulling in nearly $68,000 this reporting period and over $173,000 since he announced earlier this year. He is sitting on $152,000 cash on hand. Unlike other candidates, Ezell has not loaned his campaign any funds in this cycle.

Clay Wagner (R)

Wagner, a former executive with Hancock Whitney Bank, entered the Republican Primary race in late summer. Since then he has raised over $62,000 in contributions and has loaned himself $150,000. He is sitting on $212,000 cash on hand as of this reporting period. Wagner is a newcomer to running for political office but is showing that his community connections are lending itself to a significant donor base.

Raymond Brooks (R)

Brooks is a law enforcement officer on the Coast. He raised $7,800 this reporting period and just under $19,000 since he announced his run. Brooks shows $10,900 cash on hand.

Dr. Louis Charles Hooks (R)

Hooks filed to run in early October and has yet to file any campaign finance reports as the cutoff for this period was September 30th.

David Sellers (D)

So far, Sellers is the lone Democrat who has filed to run in the 4th Congressional District, announcing earlier this Fall. He reported raising $1,380 this reporting period and has just under $1,100 cash on hand.

Alden Johnson (L)

Johnson is reporting that he raised $108 this period and shows $210 cash on hand.

Jesse Hudson (I)

Hudson has not filed any campaign finance reports since signing up to seek the seat.

WHO ELSE MAY JUMP IN THIS RACE?

Y’all Politics has been tracking possible candidates in this race since January. Below are a few of the most hotly rumored candidates to be considering a run in the 4th Congressional District as of today:

  • State Senator Brice Wiggins (R)
  • State Senator Joey Fillingane (R)
  • Johnny DuPree, former Mayor of Hattiesburg (D)
  • State Representative Jeramey Anderson (D)

REDISTRICTING COULD IMPACT THE DISTRICT

With the release of select population data from the 2020 Census, it appears Mississippi’s Congressional Districts will see some changes in their boundaries when the Legislature meets to consider the new maps.

Population losses in the 2nd Congressional District currently held by incumbent Democrat Congressman Bennie Thompson will impact the other three districts, causing those Republican districts to gain or lose areas.

As it pertains to the 4th Congressional District, the rumors appear to coalesce around the northeast most portion of the district potentially being shifted into the 3rd District as parts of that Central Mississippi district held by Congressman Michael Guest move to Thompson’s district. This could impact Clarke, Wayne and/or Jones counties in the 4th District.