Creating solutions, putting city first goals of candidatesBy BUSTER WOLFE,
The two candidates who face each other Tuesday in the runoff for the state House District 102 seat are working hard to bring out the votes. The runoff between Missy McGee and Kathryn Rehner is required because neither candidate collected a majority of votes in the Sept. 12 special election.
Four candidates were in the running with hopes of filling the unexpired term of Toby Barker, who became Hattiesburg mayor July 1 after running as an independent. He ran for the state House as a Republican.
McGee, a lifelong Hattiesburg resident, led the field of four candidates with 1,475 votes, or 44.7 percent of the total votes. Rehner, a social worker, followed with 812 votes, or 24.4 percent.
Rehner said things that make life easier and better for average Mississippians are at stake in this election.
“Issues like funding for public schools, access to healthcare, safe roads and job security are the problems our community faces daily,” she said. “I want voters to consider which candidate has real experience working with all people in our community to create solutions to problems. I am the candidate with the experience to advocate and work to put people first in HD102.”
McGee said putting Hattiesburg first has been her main goal during the campaign.
“I want to be an advocate for the things that make us strong while also working to address our challenges,” she said. “I have legislative experience, knowledge of this community, and the ability to build relationships which are vital for being successful at the State Capitol. These are some of the things I hope voters will consider when heading to the polls this Tuesday.”
In third place in the Sept. 12 voting was Casey A. Mercier, a state retiree, who collected 709 votes, or 21.3 percent, while attorney Cory Ferraez had 316 votes, or 9.5 percent.
Although all four candidates ran as independents, McGee worked on Barker’s campaign for mayor and Rehner is supported by Democrats. State Rep. Brad Touchstone, a Hattiesburg Republican representing District 101, said the District 102 post is important to the political makeup in the House.
Members of the Mississippi House of Representatives serve four-year terms and are not subject to term limits. Mississippi legislators assume office the first day of the regular session of the year after their election. The Constitution requires the Legislature to convene yearly on the Tuesday after the first Monday in January.
In order to run for the Mississippi House of Representatives, a candidate must be at least 21 years old, a qualified elector and resident of the State of Mississippi for four years and a resident of the county or district a candidate plans to represent for two years.
Other special elections were held in District 108 in Pearl River County to succeed Republican Mark Formby of Picayune, District 38 in Clay, Lowndes and Oktibbeha counties to replace Democrat Tyrone Ellis of Starkville, who retired; and District 54 in Issaquena, Warren and Yazoo counties to replace Republican Rep. Alex Monsour, who left to become a Vicksburg alderman.
The polls are open from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. for the House District, which includes 11 precincts in Forrest County and one in Lamar County.