Rep. Barker runs for Hattiesburg mayor

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Rep. Toby Barker, R-Hattiesburg

State Rep. Toby Barker, R-Hattiesburg, announced his candidacy for mayor of his hometown Thursday morning.

Barker, who was first elected to the House in 2007 at the age of 26, made the announcement on Facebook. The short post was accompanied by a video featuring Hattiesburg residents who support Barker’s mayoral run.

“Regardless of how we each came to live here, the one thing that unites us is a love for this city (Hattiesburg),” Barker wrote in the post. “Though we have challenges, I believe they stand as an opportunity for us to come together, believe in ourselves again and work toward a positive future – a future built on quality education, state-of-the-art infrastructure and strong neighborhoods in every part of the city.”

Barker will not have to vacate his House seat during his mayoral run.

In late 2016, Sen. John Horhn, D-Jackson, announced his intention to run for Jackson mayor. Horhn is still serving in the Senate during the mayoral campaign.

Barker will square off against several opponents in the race, including current Mayor Johnny DuPree, who lost a general election gubernatorial race to Gov. Phil Bryant in 2011. Primaries will be held May 2. The general election is June 6.