Democratic U.S. Rep. Gene Taylor faces longshot Republican John McCay III in the Nov. 4 election. The incumbent, if victorious, will head to a 10th term on Capitol Hill.
Taylor first ran for the seat in 1988, but lost to Republican Larkin Smith. Taylor won a special election in 1989 after Smith died in a plane crash. Since then Taylor hasn’t had many difficult races. He captured more than 65 percent of the vote in 2004 and 80 percent in 2006. The last serious challenge from the GOP was in 1996 when Dennis Dollar, a former state legislator from Gulfport, was the top spender in the race. Taylor still captured 58 percent.
Taylor, 55, is a senior member of the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee, as well as the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
McCay, who is in his early 30s, is a United Methodist minister and a member of the Mississippi Air National Guard, with a degree from the University of Southern Mississippi in political science as well as a master of divinity degree from Memphis Theological Seminary. He serves as minister of Trinity United Methodist Church in Picayune and is a chaplain for the 172nd Air Wing in Jackson and at the Trent Lott National Guard Training Complex in Gulfport. He received the 2006 United States Air National Guard Chaplain of the Year award.