Candidates are already lining up to run in the 2019 Mississippi statewide elections.

People  are announcing their intention to run for state, district and county offices in 2019. March 1 is the qualifying deadline.

The following is a list Mississippi Today has compiled and will continue to update of people who have announced for statewide office or are rumored to be running.


Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, a Republican,  officially qualified to run for governor and will be considered the prohibitive favorite in the Republican primary.

Attorney General Jim Hood, a the only Democrat to hold a statewide office in Mississippi, announced in his hometown of Houston in October that he is running for governor.

Velesha Williams of Madison says she will run in the Democratic primary. She is the former director of the Metro Jackson Community Prevention Coalition.

State Rep. Robert Foster, R-Hernando, a freshman, announced in December he is running for governor. Foster, a Christmas tree farmer, was a surprise entry in the gubernatorial contest.

Magnolia Mayor Anthony Witherspoon, a Democrat, has been weighing a possible run for governor on social media.

Petal Mayor Hal Marx, a Republican, announced in May he would run for governor, but recently announced he is not running because of his wife’s illness.

Billionaire businessman Thomas Duff has been rumored as a possible Republican candidate. Duff, a Columbia native, is a member of the Board of Trustees of state Institutions of Higher Learning. Along with his brother, Duff owns a string of businesses, ranging from trucking to real estate. He is no longer considered a possible candidate since he has contributed significantly to the Reeves campaign.

State Supreme Court Chief Justice William Waller Jr. announced in February that he would be a Republican candidate for governor in February. When he announced earlier this year he was retiring from the judiciary, it fueled speculation that he might try to follow his father, who was a Democratic governor of Mississippi in the 1970s.

Supreme Court Justice Michael Randolph of Hattiesburg has been rumored as a candidate. But with him assuming the role of chief justice with Waller’s retirement, his candidacy seems unlikely. If he did run, it would most likely be as a Republican.

Robert J. Ray, a retired drug and alcohol counselor from Meridian, announced in February that he would be a Democratic candidate for governor.


Republican Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann. Announced his candidacy at a press conference on Jan. 9.

State Rep. Jay Hughes, D-Oxford, announced in early summer his plan to run for lieutenant governor and already has filed qualifying papers.

State Sen. Chris McDaniel, R-Ellisville is a possibility. What McDaniel will run for could be a Mississippi political board game. McDaniel, who in 2014 and 2018 ran for U.S. senator, barely losing in 2014 to political icon Thad Cochran, could run for any office from governor to his Jones County Senate seat. It is not likely, though, that he will retire from political office and practice law and resume his radio talk show.


State Rep. Mark Baker, R-Brandon, already has announced his plans to pursue the statewide office. He has been in the House since 2004.

Treasurer Lynn Fitch, a Republican, is running for attorney general. She is finishing her second term as treasurer.

Jennifer Riley-Collins, the executive director of the Mississippi chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union is running for attorney general as a Democrat.

State Rep. David Baria, D-Bay St. Louishas opted to run for his legislative seat. He was viewed as a potential candidate for attorney general  after his unsuccessful campaign last year against incumbent U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, a Tupelo Republican.

Mike Espy would be a formidable candidate for attorney general and is viewed as a possibility for that office by some. The Madison attorney, who previously served as a U.S. House member and secretary of agriculture, re-entered public life after a 25 year absence to run in the special election last year to replace long-time U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran, who retired for health reasons. Espy would be viewed as a strong candidate for any statewide office he might decide to pursue. As an attorney, the office of attorney general seems like a natural fit.


Sam Britton of Jones County, originally thought to be a likely candidate for treasurer after serving one term as Southern District Public Service Commissioner, announced his candidacy for secretary of state.

State Sen. Michael Watson, R-Pascagoula, after serving three terms in the state Legislature, said he is planning to run for the statewide office.

Jackson attorney Vickie Slater is rumored to be candidate for the office. She has spoken to Democratic officials about a possible run. In 2015, Slater was viewed as the leading Democratic candidate for governor, but was upset in the primary by truck driver Robert Gray.

Former Hattiesburg mayor Johnny DuPree will run for the post, according to state Democratic Party officials. In 2011 he was the first African American to win a primary election to be a major party’s nominee for governor in the modern era.


Republican Shad White, who was appointed to the post by Gov. Phil Bryant this summer when incumbent Stacey Pickering stepped down to head the state Veterans Affairs Board. White has said he will run for a four year term.


Republican David McRae ran and lost to incumbent Lynn Fitch in 2015. The Madison County resident has said he plans to run again in 2019.

State. Sen. Buck Clarke, R-Hollandale, has announced for the post. Clarke also has been mentioned as possible candidate for secretary of state.


Republican incumbent Mike Chaney is expected to vie for his fourth term in the post. He is a former legislator.


Republican incumbent Andy Gipson of Braxton was appointed to the post by Gov. Phil Bryant after the governor appointed incumbent Cindy Hyde-Smith to the vacant Senate post. Gipson, a former state House member, has qualified to run for a full four year term.

Perry Parker, a farmer and retired Wall Street executive from Covington County, is rumored to be a candidate. He ran an unsuccessful campaign  in 2018 for 3rd District U.S.  House seat.

State Rep. Michael Ted Evans, D-Preston, is rumored for the post. Democratic officials tout Evans as a possible candidate for the post. The state House member ran an unsuccessful campaign for the 3rd District U.S. House seat this past year. Evans now plans to run for re-election to his state House district.

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Bobby Harrison, Mississippi Today’s senior capitol reporter, covers politics, government and the Mississippi State Legislature. He also writes a weekly news analysis which is co-published in newspapers statewide. A native of Laurel, Bobby joined our team June 2018 after working for the North Mississippi Daily Journal in Tupelo since 1984. He is president of the Mississippi Capitol Press Corps Association and works with the Mississippi State University Stennis Institute to organize press luncheons. Bobby has a bachelor's in American Studies from the University of Southern Mississippi and has received multiple awards from the Mississippi Press Association, including the Bill Minor Best Investigative/In-depth Reporting and Best Commentary Column.

Adam Ganucheau, as Mississippi Today's editor-in-chief, oversees the newsroom and works with the editorial team to fulfill our mission of producing high-quality journalism in the public interest. Adam has covered politics and state government for Mississippi Today since February 2016. A native of Hazlehurst, Adam has worked as a staff reporter for, The Birmingham News and The Clarion-Ledger and his work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post and Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Adam earned his bachelor’s in journalism from the University of Mississippi.