Shuwaski Young, Democratic candidate for secretary of state, speaks during the 2023 Neshoba County Fair in Philadelphia, Miss., Thursday, July 27, 2023. Credit: Eric Shelton/Mississippi Today

Shuwaski Young, the Democratic nominee for secretary of state, announced on Sunday that he intends to withdraw his candidacy from the general election. 

Young said he recently suffered a “hypertensive crisis,” which left him with “immediate and continuous” health challenges in the middle of the campaign. He said he initially intended to push past the medical episode and continue his campaign, but he can “no longer take this risk,” according to a statement.

“I am deeply grateful for the outpouring of statewide support I have received throughout this campaign,” Young said. 

Incumbent Republican Secretary of State Michael Watson for now will be the only candidate on the ballot in November. State law, however, allows the Democratic Party to substitute another candidate to fill Young’s potential vacancy. 

To withdraw his name from the ballot, state law requires Young to submit an affidavit to the State Board of Election Commissioners, a three-member group comprised of the governor, attorney general and secretary state. 

The affidavit must spell out a “legitimate nonpolitical reason” for withdrawing his candidacy. If the board accepts the affidavit, they will remove his name from the ballot. The state Democratic Party’s Executive Committee can then put forward a new candidate for the vacancy. 

Young worked in the Mississippi Secretary of State’s Office under former Secretaries Eric Clark and Delbert Hosemann, where he was responsible for training local election commissioners and working with the state’s public lands.

At a January press conference on the front steps of the Mississippi Capitol, Young said he hoped to lead the agency he once worked for by campaigning for early voting laws and advocating for less restrictive procedures in state elections. 

Mississippi’s secretary of state is responsible for administering elections, providing training to local election commissioners, implementing business regulations and keeping records of charities in the state.

Before campaigning for statewide office, Young, a native of Neshoba County, unsuccessfully campaigned for Mississippi’s 3rd Congressional District against incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Michael Guest. 

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Taylor, a native of Grenada, covers state government and statewide elections. He is a graduate of the University of Mississippi and Holmes Community College. Before joining Mississippi Today, Taylor reported on state and local government for the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, where he received an award for his coverage of the federal government’s lawsuit against the state’s mental health system.