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Who’s running for state office in...

Who’s running for state office in Mississippi in 2023?

By: Frank Corder - February 2, 2023
Campaign Election 2023

See the full list of candidates who have qualified for state and district offices along with where their campaigns stand financially.

As you have probably heard by now, Mississippi is holding statewide elections this year. Candidates had until February 1st to qualify with their political party of choice or as an independent.

The Republican and Democratic Primary Elections will be held on August 8th. The General Election is slated for November 7th.

Below are the candidates who have qualified for state office as reported by the Mississippi Secretary of State’s office. Under the candidates you will see their latest cash on hand as of December 2022.

Not all candidate reports for January 2023 are currently showing on the Secretary of State’s campaign finance website. As those reports are made available, this candidate tracker will be updated.

While more than one candidate has filed to run in each of the party primaries, it is safe to assume that first-term Governor Tate Reeves will be the Republican nominee and four-term Northern District Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley will be the Democratic nominee.

Governor Reeves’ campaign war chest gives him a sizeable early advantage, as does his statewide name ID. Reeves has what could be a record cash position for any Governor in Mississippi history, with over ten times the amount Presley is currently showing in campaign funds. The Republican is showing $7.9 million compared to Presley with $723,000.

The other candidates to qualify in the race have not filed reports.

First-term Lt. Governor Delbert Hosemann is being challenged from his right by four-term State Senator Chris McDaniel. While four Republican candidates qualified for this race, Hosemann and McDaniel will no doubt be the top vote-getters.

Hosemann’s cash position is strong, with $3.5 million cash on hand compared to McDaniel’s at $712,000. The other candidates have not filed reports.

Of all the primaries this cycle, this pairing will be the one to watch for Republicans as the GOP nominee will be favored to win over Democrat Ryan Grover, a former Oxford city alderman candidate, in the General Election.

First-term Attorney General Lynn Fitch is unopposed in the Republican Primary. She has $1,066,767 cash on hand to start the race. Many believe the former State Treasurer solidified her re-election last summer when it was her office that defended the State of Mississippi in the Dobbs case before the U.S. Supreme Court that ultimately resulted in the overturning of Roe v. Wade.

Fitch is heavily favored against Democrat candidate Greta Martin, a litigation director for Disability Rights, in the November General Election. Martin has not filed a finance report.

First-term Secretary of State Michael Watson flirted with a possible run for higher office but chose to seek re-election this cycle when the dust settled. While he is unopposed in the Republican Primary, he is being challenged in the General Election by Shuwaski Young, a Democrat who ran for Congress in the 3rd District in 2022. Young lost to incumbent Republican Congressman Michael Guest.

Watson’s cash on hand is over $689,000 to start this cycle. Young has not filed a report.

Other than the gubernatorial General Election matchup, this race will be one to watch, with the nod going to Watson as the most likely winner.

State Auditor Shad White will run unopposed for a second straight time in the Republican Primary. However, unlike four years ago, White will have a Democratic opponent in the General Election this cycle. White was appointed to the seat in 2018 by former Governor Phil Bryant and then won the seat the next year without opposition.

White’s Democrat challenger is Larry Bradford, the Mayor of Anguilla. The incumbent is favored to cruise to a re-election victory buoyed by $1.3 million in the bank. Bradford has not filed a report.

Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney is the dean of the statewide elected officials. He reports $105,000 in cash on hand. He will face a challenge from Mitch Young, a former gubernatorial candidate in 2015, in the Republican Primary. Chaney has served in the position for four terms and is the odds-on favorite once again, both in the primary and in the General Election.

Chaney will likely carry the primary and move on to face Bruce Burton, a former judicial candidate, in the General Election. The other candidates have not filed finance reports.

First-term State Treasurer David McRae is running unopposed in the Republican Primary but will face his 2019 General Election opponent for a second time. He begins the race with $138,000 in cash on hand. Democrat Addie Green, who has not filed a finance report, is a former alderwoman from Bolton.

McRae bested Green four years ago pulling in 61% to 39%. A similar outcome is more likely than not this cycle.

Four Democrats, none of which have filed finance reports, will seek to unseat first-term Ag Commissioner Andy Gipson, a Republican. Robert Bradford, Robert Briggs, Terry Rogers and Bethany Hill will vie to be the Democrat nominee in November. If no candidate reaches 50% plus 1 vote, this primary could move to a runoff in late August.

Incumbent Commissioner Gipson shows $142,000 in cash on hand. He was appointed by former Governor Phil Bryant in 2018 before running unopposed in the Republican Primary four years ago. He enjoys a similar primary field this year as he seeks re-election. Gipson is the early favorite in this race.

Northern District Public Service Commissioner

Current Northern District Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley chose to seek the Democratic nomination for Governor this year, leaving an open seat for the first time in 16 years. No Democrats qualified to succeed Presley. However, three Republicans have qualified. Of the three PSC races, this is the race to watch.

  • Mandy Gunasekara (R)
    • Cash on Hand: $86,350
  • Tanner Newman (R)
    • Cash on Hand: N/A
  • Chris Brown (R)
    • Cash on Hand: $81,254

Central District Public Service Commissioner

This race Central District Public Service Commissioner race features a rematch of 2019, with first-term incumbent Brent Bailey facing off once again with DeKeither Stamps. However, this go around, Stamps is a member of the Mississippi House of Representatives. Neither Bailey, a Republican, nor Stamps, a Democrat, have primary opponents. This race is one of the few tossups on the state level.

  • Brent Bailey (R – Incumbent)
    • Cash on Hand: $22,370
  • DeKeither Stamps (D)
    • Cash on Hand: $129

Southern District Public Service Commissioner

First-term incumbent Southern District Public Service Commissioner Dane Maxwell will have one opponent in the Republican Primary. Maxwell, the odds-on favorite, is currently the chairman of the three-man commission. No Democrat qualified in this race, meaning the primary winner will be unopposed in the General Election.

  • Dane Maxwell (R – Incumbent)
    • Cash on Hand: $31,179
  • Nelson Carr (R)
    • Cash on Hand: N/A

Northern District Transportation Commissioner

First-term Northern District Transportation Commissioner John Caldwell, a Republican, is unopposed in both the Primary and the General Election. He is the only state or district candidate to be unopposed this cycle.

  • John Caldwell (R – Incumbent)
    • Cash on Hand: $116,161

Central District Transportation Commissioner

Incumbent Central District Transportation Commissioner Willie Simmons, a Democrat, won’t face a primary challenge in his bid for re-election but he will have a General Election opponent. The first-term Commissioner is being challenged by Republican Ricky Pennington in November.

  • Willie Simmons (D – Incumbent)
    • Cash on Hand: N/A
  • Ricky Pennington (R)
    • Cash on Hand: N/A

Southern District Transportation Commissioner

State Representative Charles Busby is likely the next Southern District Transportation Commissioner, running unopposed in the Republican Primary and drawing an Independent opponent – Steven Griffin – in the General Election. Current Commissioner Tom King announced his retirement late last year, clearing the way for the House Transportation Committee chairman.

  • Charles Busby (R)
    • Cash on Hand: $177,879
  • Steven Griffin (I)
    • Cash on Hand: N/A
About the Author(s)
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Frank Corder

Frank Corder is a native of Pascagoula. For nearly two decades, he has reported and offered analysis on government, public policy, business and matters of faith. Frank’s interviews, articles, and columns have been shared throughout Mississippi as well as in national publications. He is a frequent guest on radio and television, providing insight and commentary on the inner workings of the Magnolia State. Frank has served his community in both elected and appointed public office, hosted his own local radio and television programs, and managed private businesses all while being an engaged husband and father. Email Frank: