Election 2016: Mississippi ballot has US House and state judicial races

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JACKSON, Miss. (AP) – Mississippi has gone Republican in every presidential election since 1980, and candidates have spent little time this year fighting over the state’s six electoral votes. Republican Donald Trump campaigned in Mississippi twice before the primary and once since becoming the nominee, while Democrat Hillary Clinton has focused her efforts in other states.

All four of Mississippi’s U.S. House races are on the ballot Tuesday, as are four races for state Supreme Court and four races for state Court of Appeals.

Special elections are being held to fill two vacancies in the Mississippi House of Representatives.

Voters must show a driver’s license or other photo identification at the polls. State law bans people from taking photos of their marked ballots.

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U.S. HOUSE

All four congressmen are seeking new two-year terms and raising more cash than their challengers in what have generally been low-intensity campaigns.

In the northern 1st District, Republican Rep. Trent Kelly of Saltillo was first elected in mid-2015. He faces Democrat Jacob Owens of Oxford, the Reform Party’s Cathy Toole of Biloxi and Libertarian Chase Wilson of Olive Branch.

Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson of Bolton has held the Delta-to-Jackson 2nd District seat since 1993. He faces Republican John Bouie II of Gulfport, the Reform Party’s Johnny McLeod of Hattiesburg and independent Troy Ray of West.

In the central 3rd District, Republican Rep. Gregg Harper of Pearl was first elected in 2008. He faces Democrat Dennis C. Quinn of Magnolia, Veterans Party candidate Roger I. Gerrard of Meridian and the Reform Party’s Lajena Sheets of Seminary.

Republican Rep. Steven Palazzo of Biloxi was first elected in the southern 4th District in 2010. He faces Democrat Mark Gladney of Gulfport, Libertarian Richard Blake McCluskey of Hattiesburg and the Reform Party’s Shawn O’Hara.

Mississippi does not have a U.S. Senate race this year.

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SUPREME COURT

Four races for the nine-member Mississippi Supreme Court are on the ballot, but one of the four is uncontested. Winners receive eight-year terms.

The hardest-fought race is the central district contest between Justice Jim Kitchens of Crystal Springs and Court of Appeals Judge Kenny Griffis of Ridgeland. Though Mississippi judicial candidates run without party labels, Democrats are supporting Kitchens and Republicans are supporting Griffis.

The northern district has two races. In one of them, Justice Jimmy Maxwell of Oxford is unopposed. In the other, four candidates are running for an open seat: John Brady of Columbus, Bobby Chamberlin of Hernando, Steve Crampton of Tupelo and James T. “Jim” Kitchens of Caledonia. He is not related to Jim Kitchens of Crystal Springs.

If nobody receives a majority, the top two will go to a Nov. 29 runoff.

The southern district race is between Justice Dawn Beam of Sumrall and Michael T. Shareef of Hattiesburg.

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COURT OF APPEALS

Four seats will be filled on the 10-member Mississippi Court of Appeals. Winners receive eight-year terms.

In two of the races, incumbents are unopposed: Judge Jim Greenlee of Oxford in the northern 1st District and Judge David Ishee of Gulfport in the southern 5th District.

In the Delta-to-Jackson 2nd District, Judge Ceola James of Vicksburg is challenged by Latrice Westbrooks of Jackson.

In the central 3rd District, Judge Jack Wilson of Madison is challenged by Ed Hannan of Madison and Dow Yoder of Ridgeland.

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LEGISLATIVE RACES

Nonpartisan special elections are being held Tuesday in two Mississippi House races.

Three candidates are running in District 89 in Jones County, where Republican Rep. Bobby Shows of Ellisville retired.

Five are running in District 106 in Lamar and Pearl River counties to succeed Republican Rep. Herb Frierson of Poplarville, who left the House to become state revenue commissioner.

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VOTER ID

Mississippi voters are required to show a driver’s license or other form of government-issued identification at the polls. This is the first presidential election – but not the first big election – since Mississippi’s voter ID law took effect. People had to show ID during the 2015 election for governor and other statewide officials. People who show up without ID may vote by affidavit ballot but must show ID at the circuit clerk’s office within five days.

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NO BALLOT SELFIES

Mississippi law bans voters from showing their marked ballots to other people. A violation is punishable by a fine of $25 to $100.

 

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