Challengers face Republican incumbents in DeSoto County

A conservative group called Empower Mississippi is pumping money into all six races, motivated by what it sees as failures by incumbents to sufficiently support charter schools and educational vouchers. Challengers say the incumbents have been too cozy with retiring school Superintendent Milton Kuykendall. Incumbents say their constituents oppose charter schools and they were only supporting a school system they view as DeSoto County’s most important asset.

“The people up here really don’t like charter schools,” said Wanda Jennings, the Southaven representative whom other incumbents look to as the leader of the county’s House delegation.

While Democrats hope to gain about 10 seats and take back the House in November, some Republicans are hoping for a wider majority in the lower chamber. The intramural battles indicate that some of the most important elections this year in Mississippi could come in the GOP primary.

House Speaker Philip Gunn, R-Clinton, is endorsing incumbents, including at a June meeting of the DeSoto County Conservative Coalition where he was briefly heckled.