Steven Utroska, a small business owner in Hattiesburg, has qualified to seek the Mississippi House District 101 position, which was vacated when former representative Brad Touchstone was elected Nov. 6 as the new Lamar County Court Judge. Utroska serves on the executive committee that helped create the Pinebelt Blueway on the Leaf River.
Qualifying deadline for the race is Jan. 21.
On Tuesday, Gov. Phil Bryant issued a Writ of Election to announce March 12 as the date of the special election. If no candidate in the special election receives 50 percent of the vote plus one vote, a runoff election will be held April 2.
Members of the Mississippi House of Representatives serve four-year terms and are not subject to term limits. According to state law, when a vacancy occurs in the House, the governor must call for an election no later than 30 days after the vacancy occurs, and the counties conducting the election must be given at least 40 days notice before the election.
Ten Lamar County voting precincts will be open for the special election: Westover, Mill Creek, Midway, Oak Grove, Lake Serene, Kingsmill, Breland, Oloh, Rocky Branch and Sumrall. In certain precincts, only a portion of residents in that area will be able to vote in the election, as District 101 does not cover the entire county.
Polls will be open from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. on election day.
Touchstone served as Lamar County prosecutor and Youth Court prosecutor before being elected to the House in 2015.