BRIAN PERRY/Mathis unopposed
In 2007 and 2011, Republican Jay Mathis of Carthage sought to unseat Democrat Bennett Malone in House District 45 (Leake, Neshoba, Rankin and Scott counties). Malone fended off the first challenge with 56 percent of the vote, but squeaked in a victory in the rematch with 50.6 percent of the vote, a 78 votes lead out of 6246 votes cast. Four years later, Mathis will finally fill Malone’s seat.
Malone, who has been in ill health, resigned his seat in February after missing most of the session, bringing an end to more than three decades in the House of Representatives. Following his resignation, Governor Phil Bryant called a special election to fill his seat. Mathis was the only candidate to qualify before the deadline so he wins the seat without opposition.
I spoke to Mathis by phone on Tuesday. He and his family were at Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville where his father-in-law was undergoing an emergency quadruple bypass. He got the news about his father-in-law about the same time he learned he was unopposed in the special election.
“I’m grateful for the opportunity to serve, I’m not sure what all I can do but I hope I’ll be able to help some people in my district in the time I have there,” Mathis said.
Madison County Journal