Mississippi Republicans rule former Democratic congressman Gene Taylor can stay on GOP ballot

Former Democratic Mississippi congressman Gene Taylor will stay on the Republican primary ballot opposing incumbent U.S. Rep. Steven Palazzo.

After a closed meeting of the state Republican executive committee on Wednesday, Chairman Joe Nosef said members voted 25-10 to certify Taylor’s place on the June 3 ballot.

Taylor was elected to the U.S. House as a Democrat in 1989 and was defeated by Palazzo in 2010.

Some committee members, led by Sue Bush, of Hattiesburg, wanted to bar Taylor from running in south Mississippi’s 4th District as a Republican, saying they don’t find his party conversion sincere.

“For 21 years we’ve been fighting Gene Taylor as a Democrat in Washington, and I just felt we had to express our opinion,” Bush said after the meeting in Jackson.

Taylor told The Associated Press in a telephone interview that he was never formally notified that his place on the ballot could be in jeopardy.

“We run our own race and we make that decision in south Mississippi,” Taylor said. “My loyalty, as I said last Friday, is going to be to our nation and state first.”

Taylor said he voted in the Republican primary in the 2011 state elections and made donations to two Republican candidates for Congress in 2012.

Greenfield Daily Reporter