Mississippians are headed to the polls to cast their votes in the Democratic primary runoff election for the U.S. Senate.
The candidates on Tuesday’s ballot are Howard Sherman, a venture capitalist from Meridian, and David Baria from Bay St. Louis, who currently serves as the Mississippi House Minority Leader.
Sherman edged ahead of Baria in the June 5 primary election, receiving 31.9 percent of the vote with a total of 27,358 votes. Baria garnered 31 percent of the vote with a total of 26,568 votes. Sherman and Baria defeated state Rep. Omeria Scott from Laurel in the primary election.
After the election, Scott broke from the members of the Legislative Black Caucus and endorsed Sherman in the runoff election. The Legislative Black Caucus endorsed Baria after Scott’s loss in the primary election.
Sherman has received pushback from some Democratic voters after his history of donating to both Republican and Democratic candidates in the past, most notably his opponent Sen. Roger Wicker (R). Sherman said his past donations to Wicker were in effort to defeat Wicker’s opponent, state Sen. Chris McDaniel (R) of Ellisville.
U.S. Rep Bennie Thompson (D), the state’s only black representative, returned Sherman’s donation to his campaign and pledged his endorsement to Baria.
Baria has faced setbacks in the weeks leading up to this runoff as well, as a highly outspoken critic of President Donald Trump in a state that gifted the president nearly 60 percent of its popular vote.
The winner of this primary runoff will go on to face incumbent Wicker from Tupelo in the General Election that will take place in November.
Mississippians will be watching another runoff election today, in the Republican runoff for the Third Congressional House seat. The runoff is between Rankin and Madison County District Attorney Michael Guest and economic developer Whit Hughes.
Hughes and Guest emerged from a crowded primary of six candidates because of the seat left open by retiring Rep. Gregg Harper. Guest received 45 percent of the vote and Hughes received 22 percent of the vote.
Mississippi has a closed primary system, so voters do not have to register with a political party in order to vote in a political primary, but voters cannot cross over and vote in a Democratic runoff election if they voted in the Republican runoff.
Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., and voters should contact their local circuit clerk or the Mississippi Secretary of State’s office for further questions about the election or voting procedure.