What's on ballot for the Hattiesburg-area midterm election? Congressmen, judges, alcohol

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Lamar County voters will have the opportunity to decide whether the county will remain dry or allow the sale of beer, wine, and light alcohol within county limits.

Voters will be asked to choose "for" or "against" the measure in the Nov. 8 general election.

Parts of Hattiesburg sit in Lamar County. Those areas already are permitted to sell alcohol, approved by past referendums. The Forrest County side of Hattiesburg allows the sale of all alcoholic beverages.

For Lamar County, the vote will be to approve or deny allowing "light" alcohol — the alcohol content of wine may not exceed 5% by weight; beer may not exceed 8% by weight, and light spirit products may not exceed 6% by weight if the measure is approved by a majority of Lamar County voters.

A new law enacted in 2020 allows the possession of alcohol in every county in Mississippi. The law went into effect on Jan. 1, 2021. While possession in every county is legal, it is up to each county to decide whether to allow the sale of alcohol.

Sample ballot:What to vote on in the Nov. 8 general election in Lamar County

Candidates for U.S. Congress, Mississippi District 4

Jackson County Sheriff Mike Ezell, who is running for Congress, talks to a supporter during a campaign press conference at the Great Southern Club in Gulfport on June 9, 2022.
Jackson County Sheriff Mike Ezell, who is running for Congress, talks to a supporter during a campaign press conference at the Great Southern Club in Gulfport on June 9, 2022.

South Mississippi has one congressional race, which will bring a new member to the U.S. House of Representatives.

Jackson County Sheriff Mike Ezell, a Republican, in the primary election runoff edged out incumbent Rep. Steven Palazzo, whose term will end at the end of the year. Palazzo served six terms in Congress.

Ezell, who won the Republican nomination by about 4,000 votes, will face Democrat Johnny DuPree and Libertarian Alden Johnson.

Ezell, of Pascagoula, followed in his father's footsteps, working in law enforcement, including his current position as Jackson County sheriff, a post he has held for eight years. The married father of one worked in law enforcement while earning a degree in criminal justice at the University of Southern Mississippi.

Forrest County:Where to vote in the midterm election

Lamar County:Where to vote in the midterm election

Ezell wants to rebuild support for law enforcement, first responders and the military; strengthen the nation's borders; protect gun rights; and improve the economy. He is pro-life and wants to end taxpayer-funded abortions. Ezell also plans to "tackle Biden's crippling inflation" if elected. He believes in limited government and wants to "do away with big government regulations."

Democrat Johnny DuPree, of Hattiesburg, served 16 years as the city's mayor. The married father of two has spent decades in public service including on the Hattiesburg public school board and Forrest County Board of Supervisors. He is a real estate broker and small-business owner. He was the Democratic nominee for governor in 2011.

DuPree wants to help rebuild the nation's economy and improve the affordability of the American dream, which includes comfortable living, the possibility of home ownership, and access to affordable health care. He said he grew up impoverished, but was able to work his way up to a middle-class lifestyle. DuPree said people today should have the same opportunity.

Libertarian Alden Johnson, of Hattiesburg, is a firefighter and emergency medical technician. He is a Mississippi native who moved to Arkansas as a child. He participated in the Boy Scouts throughout his youth and worked his way up to Eagle Scout. Johnson, who is married, returned to Mississippi in 2009, a year after graduating high school.

Alden Johnson is a Libertarian candidate for U.S. House of Representatives District 4 for Mississippi.
Alden Johnson is a Libertarian candidate for U.S. House of Representatives District 4 for Mississippi.

Johnson supports limited government and direct primary health care in which the patient pays the physician and not their insurance company for basic health care. He also supports jury nullification and defense of the borders, not global peacemaking efforts. Johnson supports limiting government licensing and certifications that hamper job creation and entrepreneurship. He supports medical marijuana and protecting gun rights.

He will be working on Election Day but is confident he will win. He plans to celebrate his election to Congress at a future date.

"Alden is southeast Mississippi's candidate for the people," his campaign said in a prepared statement. "This is why he has chosen to work his regular shift as a fire lieutenant/EMT on Election Day.

"I look forward to representing the residents of District 4 in D.C.," he said. "I must honor my current role in this community. We'll celebrate once I'm sworn in as your next representative."

Sample ballot:What to vote on in the Nov. 8 general election in Forrest County

Special election, Forrest County prosecutor

Two people will be on the ballot for the office of Forrest County prosecutor in a special election following the death of David Myers who previously held the position. They will be running as independents for the special election.

Those seeking the office include:

  • Mary Lee Holmes, who was appointed to the office by the Forrest County Board of Supervisors

  • Jack Denton, former assistant district attorney for the Forrest-Perry County District Attorney's Office

Forrest, Lamar county school board races

School board members are voted on by the district, so will only appear on the ballots of voters living in those districts. Some districts do not have elections in school board races.

Lamar County

Jordan Carlisle is the sole candidate for Lamar County School Board District B. Two candidates are seeking a spot on the school board in District D: Lance LeFan and Ray Anthony Payton.

Forrest County

Three people are running unopposed in school district races in Forrest County and Petal.

Karen Vines is the sole candidate for District 1. In District 2, Tessie Williams Reed is the only candidate on the ballot. Lacey Bolling is seeking a seat on the Petal School Board.

Judicial races on the ballots

A number of judicial races also will be on the general election ballot in November. Judges run as independents, so no party primaries will be held for those races.

12th Circuit: Incumbents Bob Helfrich and Jon Mark Weathers are seeking reelection. Running against Helfrich is Hattiesburg attorney and Justice Court judge Gay Polk-Payton.

The 12th Circuit includes Forrest and Perry counties.

15th Circuit: Incumbents Prentiss Harrell, Anthony Mozingo, and Claiborne "Buddy" McDonald are running unopposed. Mozingo will be reelected but announced in October he will step down at the end of the year to become director of Homes of Hope for Children. Gov. Tate Reeves will set a special election to replace Mozingo on the bench.

The 15th Circuit includes Lamar, Marion, Pearl River, Jefferson Davis, and Lawrence counties.

10th District Chancery Court: Judges seeking reelection include Deborah Gambrell, Rhea Sheldon, Sheila Havard Smallwood, and Chad Smith. Sheldon, Smallwood, and Smith are running unopposed. Gambrell will face Hattiesburg attorney Chase Ford Morgan.

The 10th District serves residents in Forrest, Lamar, Marion, Pearl River, and Perry counties.

Forrest County Youth Court: Carol Jones Russell is the only candidate.

The ballot also includes a special election for the Mississippi Court of Appeals' 5th District, Place 2. Joel Smith of Gulfport, who was appointed to the seat by Gov. Tate Reeves in January 2021, is running unopposed. Smith replaced Sean Tindell, who was named commissioner of public safety for Mississippi.

Do you have a story to share? Contact Lici Beveridge at lbeveridge@gannett.com. Follow her on Twitter @licibev or Facebook at facebook.com/licibeveridge.

This article originally appeared on Hattiesburg American: Midterm races in Forrest, Lamar county elections Nov. 8