The following have qualified for candidacy in the 2o15 election for the Mississippi Senate. Only the Gulf Coast region is represented. For a complete list see Empower Mississippi‘s tabulation for the entire state.
District 40 (Pearl River): Incumbent Angela Hill (R) is uncontested.
District 45 (Forrest): Incumbent Billy Hudson (R) is uncontested.
District 46 (Hancock): Incumbent Philip E. Moran (R) is uncontested.
District 47 (Harrison/Jackson/Pearl River/Stone): With Sen. Tony Smith qualifying to run for the Public Service Commission Southern District, three candidates have qualified to replace him:
- Jimmy L. “Bo” Alawine (D)
- Rogena Mitchell (R)
- Joseph M. “Mike” Seymore (R)
District 48 (Harrison):
- Incumbent: Deborah Dawkins (D)
- Joseph B. Piernas, Sr. (D)
- Walter Crapps (R)
District 49 (Harrison):
- Incumbent: Sean Tindell (R)
- Katherine DeCoito (R)
District 50 (Harrison): Incumbent Tommy Gollott is uncontested.
District 51 (Jackson County):
- Incumbent Michael D. Watson, Jr. (R)
- Butch Loper (R)
Alisha Nelson McElhenney had qualified for the District 51 seat but switched her candidacy to the Lieutenant Governor seat following Watson’s announcement.
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The qualifying deadline for the 2015 state election is February 27th but few candidates have candidates have entered. Some of the significant questions surround the statewide offices:
- Who will be the Democrat Candidate for Governor? Attorney General Jim Hood is a front-runner but he has indicated little interest.
- Who will run for Lieutenant Governor? Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann has contemplated challenging incumbent Tate Reeves.
- Who will be running for Attorney General? Will incumbent Jim Hood attempt reelection?
- Will Stacey Pickering run for reelection as State Auditor? Republican challengers Mary Hawkins Butler (Madison Mayor) and Sen. Michael Watson (Pascagoula) have already expressed interest.
A wildcard in the 2015 elections is Sen. Chris McDaniel. He is thought to be a credible Republican challenger for Attorney General but has also indicated his interest in Lieutenant Governor and Secretary of State. However, McDaniel may be more set on federal office and wait to challenge U.S. Rep. Steven Palazzo for the 4th Congressional District in 2016.
The 2015 Election will be November 3rd with any party primaries 3 month prior on August 4th.
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The Mississippi Senate passed SB 2695, Equal Opportunity for Students with Special Needs Act, on Wednesday. The measure is designed to help special needs students by providing a $7,000 voucher, provided on pre-paid debit cards, to seek educational services outside the public school system. If enacted into law, it will be limited to 500 students in the first year. The estimated $3.5 million first year cost would be paid from the state’s general fund and not the Mississippi Adequate Education Program earmarked funds. Funds could only use the funds at Mississippi Department of Education approved vendors.
Gov. Phil Bryant and the National Excellence in Education Foundation praised the passage. However, the Parents Campaign opposes SB 2695 because it does not help all students with disabilities and sees it as a step toward privatization of public schools.
SB 2695 will proceed to the House for consideration where a similar bill, HB 294 sponsored by Carolyn Crawford of Pass Christian, awaits passage.
Senate Bill 2161 was passed yesterday and will establish the Mississippi Commission on College and Career Readiness to recommend new education standards to replace the Common Core States Standards adopted. Several Tea Party conservatives, namely Senators Chris McDaniel, Melanie Sojourner, and Michael Watson, protested since the Senate refused to add language making the adoption of the commission recommendations mandatory. Those objecting to SB 2161 also fear that the Commission could recommend standards that simply mirror Common Core standards.
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The Miss. Senate confirmed Carey Wright as the State Superintendent of Education on March 19th despite her support for Common Core. Common Core is a national educational curriculum and standard promoted by the Obama Administration. The Senate voted 46-6 to confirm Wright.
The Mississippi State Board of Education approved Common Core-aligned curricula in February. The standards were adopted in 2010 but 2014-2015 school year will be the first year that the curriculum and testing aligned with them.
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