/Tupelo Mayor Jason Shelton drops out of Senate race

Tupelo Mayor Jason Shelton drops out of Senate race

Shelton stated that he made his decision Tuesday after enduring a difficult battle to win the race with three prominent candidates. Shelton stated in a statement that the special election was short and required candidates to quickly decide whether they wanted to qualify. “The historic significance and rare opportunity of this special election was also not lost upon me,” Shelton said. Mike Espy, a former congressman and U.S Secretary of Agriculture, is the only leading Democrat. He will be running against Chris McDaniel, an anti-establishment conservative and Sen. Cindy Hyde Smith. Tobey Bartee, a lesser-known Democratic candidate, is also running. However, he has not yet registered his candidacy with Federal Election Commission. Shelton, a 42-year-old Tupelo mayor and moderate Democrat, was expected split some Democratic votes alongside Espy. McDaniel and Hyde-Smith are fighting for Republican votes. Shelton’s exclusion leaves Democrats with only one option. Bobby Moak, Chairman of the Democratic Party, said that “I respect and honour Mayor Shelton’s decision to leave the Senate race at the moment.” “His political acumen and his ability to always put others before him makes it abundantly obvious that Mayor Shelton has bright future in politics.” Former Sen. ThadCochran retired April 1. Gov. Phil Bryant named Hyde-Smith, the ex-state Agriculture Commissioner, as the incumbent to the seat until the Nov. 6 special elections. Bryant gave potential candidates until April 24, as a qualification deadline. Shelton, a relatively unknown candidate in northeast Mississippi, announced his candidacy on April 3, the last of four candidates. Candidates from any party are eligible to run for the special election without restriction. No one will be able to win a majority of 50 percent on Nov. 6. The top two vote-getters in the runoff on November 27 will face off. U.S. Senator Roger Wicker will be seeking a sixth-year term. Wicker will be facing Richard Boyanton, a little-known businessman, in the June 5 Republican primaries. He will then face the winner of a six way Democratic primary that includes David Baria (state House minority leader), Omeria Scott (long-serving state representative) and Howard Sherman (venture capitalist).