Jackson County Sheriff Mike Ezell

Republican Mike Ezell, who has been sheriff of Jackson County since 2014, is running for Congress in Mississippi’s 4th congressional district — a seat currently held by Rep. Steven Palazzo.

Ezell will formally kick off his campaign in a four-stop tour on Wednesday in Jackson, Harrison, Forrest and Jones counties. The election will be held in 2022.

Palazzo has been the subject of a House ethics investigation for allegedly misspending campaign funds. A congressional ethics report made public in March alleged that Palazzo misspent campaign and congressional funds, and said it found evidence he used his office to help his brother and used staff for personal errands and services.

What’s next for Palazzo remains unclear as the House Ethics Committee could dismiss the allegations, offer its own rebuke of Palazzo, or pass the matter off for criminal investigation to the Department of Justice. The congressman, who has denied wrongdoing, has not yet filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission to run for reelection in 2022.

READ MORE: Ethics report: ‘Substantial’ evidence of Rep. Palazzo wrongdoing

Ezell, 58, has 40 years of service in law enforcement, including working in the Pascagoula Police Department, chief of police of Ocean Springs and now sheriff of Jackson County. He and his wife, Suzette, live in Pascagoula.

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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 AL.com, 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.