Mississippi Republicans to choose opponent for longtime Democratic congressman

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A runoff election Tuesday in Mississippi’s 2nd Congressional District will determine the Republican candidate who faces the longtime Democratic representative. Bennie Thompson in the general elections on November 5.

Republicans Ron Eller and Andrew Scott Smith advanced to the runoff after a three-way primary three weeks ago. They are competing in a majority-Black district that Thompson has represented since winning a special election in 1993 and where President Joe Biden won by 27 percentage points in 2020.

Thompson, the ranking Democrat on the House Homeland Security Committee, was unopposed in the primary. He said he wants to reduce the cost of prescription drugs, invest in historically black colleges and universities, reduce student debt and build the middle class “by making sure the wealthy pay their fair share.”

Eller is a military veteran and physician assistant who unsuccessfully ran for the 2nd District Republican nomination in 2022. He has said he supports building a border wall between the United States and Mexico and l expansion of national energy production.

Smith worked in pumpkin farming and commercial real estate. He said he wants to rejuvenate agriculture, rebuild infrastructure, strengthen the southern border and demand more transparency in government.

The 2nd District extends along the Mississippi River in the west of the state, across the Delta Plains and to the capital Jackson. He supported Biden over Republican Donald Trump 63% to 36% in the 2020 election.

Eller received about 47% of the vote on March 12 and Smith received 36%.

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