House Speaker Philip Gunn, R-Clinton, left, confers with Speaker Pro Tempore Jason White, R-West, during a meeting of the Joint Legislative Budget Committee, Friday, March 25, 2022, at the Mississippi Capitol in Jackson, Miss. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

Current Pro Tem State Rep. Jason White says he plans to run for the top House leadership position but won’t do so against current Speaker Philip Gunn. 

Speaker Pro Tem of the House of Representatives Jason White says he is setting his sights on the Speaker position in the Mississippi House of Representatives. Exactly when that will happen, remains in question.

White, a Republican, said on SuperTalk radio Thursday morning that there is no denying he plans to throw his hat into the race for Speaker, but he will not be doing so against current Speaker Philip Gunn, also a Republican, despite circulating rumors.

“You won’t see a Philip Gunn and Jason White race for Speaker of the House,” said White.

Rep. White added that a lot can happen between now and the qualifying deadline, which is set for February 1, 2023. However, he expects the public will know whether or not it will be Gunn or White’s name in the hat for Speaker long before then.

White added that he would like to see a decision announced by the fall.

Speaker Pro Tem, Jason White

“He’s [Gunn] earned the right to decide and announce at the time he chooses, and I’m certainly going to respect that,” said White. “But I also can’t wait till December to put something together and run for Speaker.”

White said he has received encouragement to run from other colleagues throughout his time serving as Speaker Pro Tem and Rules Chairman.

White said that while it may have been news for others to hear at the Neshoba County Fair, conversations for him to become Speaker have been ongoing in the political sphere.

State Rep. Michael Ted Evans made comments during his Neshoba speech at Founders Square, that when White runs for Speaker, he would support him.

The Mississippi House Leadership Fund PAC was formed last fall by White and has been raising money for future elections. The Pro Tem said that the financial support is intended for conservative Republicans running to be part of the Mississippi House of Representatives.

Speaker Gunn’s plans for the next year are unclear. White said he believes Gunn is waiting to determine what direction he wants to go.

Gunn has served as Speaker of the House for three consecutive terms and has been a member of the House of Representatives since 2004.

“That’s all I’ve known is Speaker Gunn as the Speaker of the House, and what I’ve known him to be is extremely conservative, extremely fair, and a great Speaker,” said White.