Public service commission candidate denied appeal by SCOTUS, will not appear on ballot

Mandy Gunasekara, a Republican candidate on the primary ballot for the Northern District Public Service Commissioner post, answers questions regarding a residency challenge in Hinds County Circuit Court, March 22, 2023, in Jackson, Miss.

It seems former Trump-era EPA Chief of Staff Mandy Gunasekara will not appear on the ballot to replace Brandon Presley on the Mississippi Public Service Commission.

In a short order issued by U.S. Supreme Court on Friday via Justice Samuel Alito, the court denied an emergency request from Gunasekara to be added back to the ballot in the race for the Nothern District seat on the PSC.

"The application for stay and recall of the mandate and an injunction pending appeal presented to Justice Alito and by him referred to the Court is denied," the order reads.

The order came down as part of the so-called "shadow docket," so there will be no further explanation of the court's decision.

Gunasekara had sought the nation's highest court to issue an injunction, halting an unfavorable state supreme court decision until she could make her case to the U.S. Supreme Court. Last month, the Mississippi Supreme Court ruled that Gunasekara had not met the necessary residency requirements to run for office.

Gunasekara is a native of Newton County, Mississippi, but she has worked and lived in Washington D.C. at various points throughout her career. According to the earlier ruling from Special Circuit Judge Lamar Pickard, Gunasekara voted in a 2018 local election in Washington. In order to run for office in Mississippi, one must maintain residency for at least five years. The November 2018 election in Washington would fall a few months short of that timeframe, as Gunasekara filed to appear in the Republican primary in August.

Shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court order was announced, Gunasekara released a video via Twitter acknowledging the moment as "the end of my campaign for this position."

"However, like I said previously, this is a bump along the way. This is not the end of the road for me, so stay tuned. I'm still going to be very involved and very committed to expanding the reach and the prosperity of the conservative movement here in my home state, the great state of Mississippi," Gunasekara said.

The two candidates remaining on the ballot for the northern district seat, Chris Brown and Tanner Newman, are both Republicans. Presley, a Democrat, is running for governor.

This article originally appeared on Mississippi Clarion Ledger: Mississippi Public Service Commission candidate denied SCOTUS appeal