2011 Mississippi primaries: State Treasurer, Agriculture Commissioner and Public Service Commission

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August 1, 2011

By Greg Janetka


JACKSON, Mississippi: Primaries will be held tomorrow for three down ballot state executive positions in Mississippi, with polls opening at 7:00 am CDT. Two positions - Auditor and Commissioner of Insurance - will not see primaries as multiple candidates did not file for their party’s nomination. Here is an overview of the primary races. The General election will be held on November 8, 2011.


Current Mississippi State Treasurer Tate Reeves (R) is running for Lieutenant Governor in 2011, effectively opening up the field for Republicans. Reeves has held the position since being first elected in 2003. The Republican primary will be a three-way race:

The Clarion-Ledger endorsed Fitch, citing his experience and qualifications.[1]

Y’all Politics predicted Smith would lead in votes, but that a runoff between one of the other two candidates would be necessary.[2] If that occurs, the runoff would take place August 23.

Democrat Connie Moran does not face a primary challenger. Shawn O'Hara had filed to run on the Democratic ticket, but was refused by the state Democratic Party executive committee as he is already a Reform Party candidate for governor. According to state law a candidate can only run for one office at a time. O'Hara appealed the decision to the Mississippi Supreme Court but they refused to hear the request.[3] Jon McCarty is running on the Reform Party ticket.

State Executive Official elections

MississippiWest Virginia


Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce

Current Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce Lester Spell (R) is retiring, having served in the position since 1996. Three Republicans are vying for the party nomination:

The Clarion-Ledger endorsed Phillips,[4] while Hyde-Smith received the endorsement of Lester Spell and current Alabama Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries John McMillan.[5]

Y’all Politics predicted a close race between Phillips and Hyde-Smith, with Phillips winning.[2]

Democrat Joel Gill and Reform Party candidate Cathy L. Toole do not face primary opposition.

Public Service Commission

The Mississippi Public Service Commission consists of three members. All three positions will have primary elections.

Northern District

Incumbent Democrat Brandon Presley is unopposed for his party's nomination. He has served since 2007.

Two Republicans are seeking their party's nomination:

Adams was endorsed by the Greenwood Commonwealth.[6]

Central District

Incumbent Republican Lynn Posey is unopposed for his party's nomination. Charles Barbour was slated to run but instead decided to run in Senate district 25. Posey was originally elected in 2007 as a Democrat, having only recently switched parties in December 2010.

Two Democrats will face off for the party nomination:

Danny Ayers is running as an Independent.

Southern District

The Southern District is the only one that will have primaries for both parties.

On the Republican side, incumbent Leonard Bentz will face off against Travis Rose. Bentz won election in 2007, defeating Democratic candidate Mike Collier, who is running this year as well.[7]

Mississippi Public Service Commission, Southern District (2007)
Candidates Votes Percent
Green check mark transparent.png Leonard Bentz (R) 139,124 55.90%
Mike Collier (D) 109,737 44.10%

Democrats will see a three way contest between Thomas Blanton, James Buckhaults, and Mike Collier.

See also

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