Doty signed qualifying papers Monday morning at the Republican Party Headquarters. According to an Associated Press report, Morgan Dunn, a business executive, also filed qualifying papers Monday. Doty, who is an attorney and chairs the Senate Energy committee, along with Dunn, the managing director of Vestra LLC — which is a Magee-based health care consulting company — are competing to become the first women elected to represent Mississippi in Congress. Doty championed many women’s issues throughout her time in the Legislature. These included equal pay initiatives, tightening “revenge porn” laws, and others. Doty has also been a proponent of election reform, including online registration and early voting. Doty tweeted Monday morning, “Ready to deliver my message of common-sense conservatism to District 3 voters.” Doty and Dunn are joined by other Republican candidates Michael Guest (district attorney for Rankin, Madison, and Whit Hughes; a Madison businessman, and long-time political campaign operative; Perry Parker (an investment banker from Seminary); and Whit Hughes (long-serving Madison county prosecutor). Harper’s unexpected announcement that he would not seek re-election triggered a political chain reaction within the state. Immediately, potential candidates and politicians began calling prominent donors throughout the state to gauge support. It was not expected that the seat would be up for grabs during the 2018 midterms. The district extends from the Golden Triangle to the extreme southwest Mississippi. Guest, who was the first to qualify, stated earlier this month that he will focus his campaign on fighting the opioid epidemic in Mississippi, nationally, fixing infrastructure issues, and funding the military. Hughes is perhaps most well-known as the sixth man on the 1996 Mississippi State University Final Four basketball team. He was also the former president and chief of development for Baptist Health Systems. He is also a longtime political campaign operative. Hughes stated that he believes he is the best conservative candidate to fill this role. “I believe voters want a leader to step up…a fighter…someone with character and backbone who will go to Capitol Hill to drive legislation that aligns to Mississippi priorities.” Parker filed papers last week and says he will use his Wall Street experience to focus on fiscal issues. The vacant House seat is a major setback in Mississippi’s already turbulent political climate. The state’s junior senator Sen. Roger Wicker is up for re-election this year. His colleagues and Sen. Thad cochran privately suggested that he might retire this year because of health concerns. There are more candidates expected to run for the House. The deadline for fling is March 2, while primaries for party primaries are June 5, and general elections are Nov. 6.