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Democrat challenger in House District...

Democrat challenger in House District 64 race to appeal disqualification

By: Sarah Ulmer - April 11, 2023

State Rep. Shanda Yates, now an Independent, raised residency issues with the two Democratic candidates. One has withdrawn and the other is facing disqualification.

In February, State Representative Shanda Yates (I) filed a residency challenge in the Hinds County Circuit Court against the two Democratic Party candidates – Angela Grayson and Kia Jones – that are also running in the House District 64 race.

Grayson chose to voluntarily drop out of the race in late March after the petition was made by Yates.

Jones remained in the race until a judgement by the special appointed judge last week. Judge Forrest Johnson found that Jones did not meet the residency requirements and disqualified her from the race. Jones’ campaign Facebook page is no longer up and running.

RELATED: State Rep. Yates petitions Hinds Circuit Court to disqualify Democrat challengers

While Jones’ address prior to January 2023 did meet the two-year residency requirement that was based on the 2012 redistricting, it does not comply with the most recently redrawn district lines from the legislature’s 2022 redistricting. On January 7, 2023, she moved her address to within the new district lines.

However, the court reported that Jones was not a qualified elector of that district on February 1, 2023, because she did not register to vote at a new address until February 14.

“The Court found that the Respondent’s failure to meet the statutory deadline to be a qualified elector of the state district disqualified her from having her name placed upon the ballot in question,” court records show.

State statute requires that a person running to be a member of the House of Representatives must be a resident of the state for at least four years and live within the House district for two years.

Since the judge’s ruling, Jones has filed an appeal with the Mississippi Supreme Court.

State Rep. Yates, the incumbent, told Magnolia Tribune she was surprised to learn of Jones’ appeal.

“Both myself and my attorney were surprised to see her appeal the judge’s disqualification ruling. We both believe that the law and the facts are on our side and that the Supreme Court will agree,” said Yates.

Rep. Yates is now an Independent after she switched from affiliating with the Democratic Party. She made the party change in January 2022 in an attempt to remove herself from what she described as “a toxic situation.”

If Jones’ disqualification stands, no Democrat will be in the House District 64 race to face Rep. Yates in the General Election. However, there is a Republican who has qualified for the race and will be on the ballot challenging Yates. Amile Wilson has been certified to run by the Mississippi Republican Party and is unopposed in the Primary.

About the Author(s)
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Sarah Ulmer

Sarah is a Mississippi native, born and raised in Madison. She is a graduate of Mississippi State University, where she studied Communications, with an emphasis in Broadcasting and Journalism. Sarah’s experience spans multiple mediums, including extensive videography with both at home and overseas, broadcasting daily news, and hosting a live radio show. In 2017, Sarah became a member of the Capitol Press Corp in Mississippi and has faithfully covered the decisions being made by leaders on some of the most important issues facing our state. Email Sarah: