Deadline Looms

Daily Journal: Deadline for 1st District seat looms

Jan. 11 is the qualifying deadline for party primaries leading up to the Nov. 4 general election. For the special election, Gov. Haley Barbour hasn't decided yet, but it can't be that far off. State law requires a special election to fill the House post within about 120 days of the vacancy.

State Sen. Alan Nunnelee, a Republican, said he's giving the race serious consideration. The name of one of his Democratic colleagues, Oxford state Sen. Gray Tollison, also popped up Monday. Calls to him were not returned Monday. Nunnelee said Monday he is very interested in the 1st District seat but will evaluate his situation after speaking with Lt. Gov.-elect Phil Bryan, who is expected to make his Senate committee appointments Jan. 11. "It's been my privilege to serve in the Senate the past 13 years," Nunnelee told the Daily Journal. He also said he's been getting a lot of phone calls encouraging him to seek the U.S. House seat. "I'm evaluating my situation," he said, "but at this point I am seriously considering it." Nunnelee is likely to get a key Senate chairmanship from Bryant, probably the influential Finance Committee, which sets tax policy. But he said he wants to talk with Bryant soon so they can work together on whatever happens. Nunnelee said he will make his decision about the House race before Bryant's announcements.

Greg Davis, also a Republican, said he is organizing a campaign for the special election and will enter the Republican congressional primary, seeking a full, two-year term. "I first publicly expressed an interest about a week ago and I have had a meeting of my supporters," Davis said Monday. Davis, 41, served seven years in the Mississippi House of Representatives. He is a civil engineering graduate of Mississippi State University and was in the private sector before election as Southaven's full-time mayor in 1997. DeSoto County, with about 150,000 residents, is the most populous in the 1st District.

Former Tupelo Mayor Glenn McCullough Jr. looks serious about the race. He said Sunday he's spoken with his wife about it and is weighing his options.

Democrats Rep. Steve Holland of Plantersville and outgoing legislator Jamie Franks of Mooreville also say they're seriously interested.

Tupelo attorney and consultant Brad Prewitt, a former member of U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran's staff, said he is interested in running for the 1st District seat. "My problem is my wife and I are expecting twin sons in February, and I have to have a serious conversation with her about all of this."

And one more before Monday was over: Dr. Randy Russell, an Oxford eye doctor and long-time GOP activist, said he's close to getting in the race. "Opportunities like this don't come very often and you have to move quickly," he said.

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