Sherman wins county; Baria wins state Featured

Mississippi State Rep. David Baria won Tuesday’s Democratic U.S. Senate nomination against businessman Howard Sherman. He will face incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker in November’s General Election. Howard narrowly defeated Baria in the primary election earlier this month. However, as neither candidate received more than 50 percent of the vote, a runoff was required. Although Sherman defeated Baria in Bolivar County, Baria received 58.5 percent of votes statewide while Sherman received 41.5 percent. Statewide voter turn out for the race was low. In Bolivar County just 1,367 electronic and 71 paper votes were cast. "It seems that in these non-local state races and even some federal races, that you'd think people would care more about because those types of these positions make legislative decisions,” said Bolivar County Circuit Clerk Marilyn Kelly. “There is historically just not a high turn out. If candidates do not heavily campaign the area, then there isn't really an opportunity for local citizens to find about who they are. “Voters become more engaged when the candidates are more engaged with them. It's a lot to ask of candidates who are running a statewide race though. This county has about 21,000 active voters. There are bigger counties and so candidates may focus their time elsewhere. That tends to be the only thing that really pulls voters out is when they feel like they know the candidates who are running, " she said. This is a change election," Baria told The Associated Press on Tuesday night. "Democrats are excited and exuberant. Folks are ready to make some change in Washington." Many Democratic politicians backed Baria, the state House minority leader and an attorney, over newcomer Sherman. The husband of actress Sela Ward, Sherman voted as a Republican in California and donated to Wicker. Sherman said the donation was an effort to prevent a tea party Republican from winning. "I thought the state was ready for something different," Sherman said. "I thought the state was tired of 50th. But they voted for a shepherd of 50th." Baria has served in both the Mississippi Senate and the Mississippi House of Representatives. As a representative, he served on five different committees: Appropriations, Universities and Colleges, Judiciary B, Judiciary En Banc, and Youth and Family Services. In 2016 Baria was chosen as House Minority Leader. "I was not in politics before Katrina and that tragedy changed everything. It spurred me to become in involved in public service. Mississippi is a big and diverse state it's my home and I love it. “One of the real joys has been getting to know the people of this state and letting them get to know my wife and my family. It’s my love of the people and my belief in the potential of our state and its citizens that has made me want to run," said Baria. While Baria has won the battle, he has not yet won the war. Baria will take on Wicker, Reform Party candidate Shawn O’Hara and Libertarian candidate Danny Bedwell in November's senate race. "Congratulations to David Baria on his win in the Democratic run-off,” said Wicker in a press release. “Gayle and I look forward to seeing him on the campaign trail. We will continue traveling the state, working to earn votes, and communicating our record of conservative accomplishments and a vision for our nation’s future that reflects our Mississippi values," he said. Wicker, who's held the Senate seat since late 2007, coasted to a primary victory June 5. The incumbent congratulated Baria on Tuesday, but drew a quick contrast. "I want to continue working with President Trump to grow our economy, secure our borders, and keep Americans safe," Wicker said in a statement. Baria criticized Wicker for "continuing to hug up" to Trump and catering to business interests. "Roger Wicker has had 24 years in Washington and he has not served the people of Mississippi," Baria said. "Instead he has served corporate interests." Baria is pitching hopes that Democrats can pick up not just one but both of Mississippi's Senate seats. The second seat, which had been held by Thad Cochran, will be on the ballot in November in a special election. Republican U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, a former agriculture commissioner appointed to fill the vacancy by Gov. Phil Bryant, faces McDaniel and Democrat Mike Espy. The candidates run without party labels, but Baria hopes Espy, who was Mississippi's first African-American congressman since Reconstruction and later U.S. secretary of agriculture, can excite Democrats. Sherman portrayed himself as an outsider, saying Mississippi Democrats have faced decades of failure since John C. Stennis, the last party member to hold a Senate seat from the state, retired in 1989. Sherman touted a 100-day plan that included items focused on private-sector action instead of federal spending.

Last modified onWednesday, 27 June 2018 19:53

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