After Tuesday’s primary election, the No. 2 vote getters in two hotly contested races have asked for debates ahead of the June 26 runoff. In each case, the first-place finishers have bristled at the invitation.
State Rep. David Baria said he emailed Howard Sherman, his opponent in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate, for a debate but received no response.
In Tuesday’s most-watched Republican contest, Michael Guest, the district attorney in Rankin and Madison counties, dominated the crowded ticket of six total Republicans, earning 28,720 (45 percent) votes. Whit Hughes, who worked in economic development and hospital administration, earned 14,250 (22 percent) votes.
When Mississippi Today contacted him, Sherman – who beat Baria on Tuesday by about 800 votes – did not explicitly rule out a debate but indicated that he wants to focus his time elsewhere until June 26.
“I have less than three more weeks to travel the state and meet with voters to present my new ideas and policies — that’s my priority,” Sherman said in a statement to Mississippi Today.
“I am a businessman with a solutions based approach. Career politicians can debate why Mississippi is still 50th in the nation. I am offering real solutions to help Mississippi rise up. We can make something great happen here. I will go anywhere and talk with anyone who wants to change politics as usual and actually get things done for Mississippi. No more excuses. Mississippi deserves better.”
Sherman, an entrepreneur and husband of celebrated Mississippi actress Sela Ward, surprised many longtime politicos when he earned the most votes on a crowded Democratic ticket for the Senate seat currently held by Republican Sen. Roger Wicker. He earned 27,358 (31.9 percent) votes on Tuesday.
Baria, a Gulf Coast attorney and state House minority leader, earned 26,568 (31.0 percent) votes.