JACKSON — First District Republican Alan Nunnelee is the only Mississippi congressman without a party primary this year.
Saturday was congressional candidates’ qualifying deadline in the state. Primaries are June 3, and the general election is Nov. 4.
Longtime Sen. Thad Cochran of Oxford is challenged in the Republican primary by two-term state Sen. Chris McDaniel of Ellisville and Thomas Carey of Hernando. Cochran served six years in the U.S. House before winning the Senate seat in 1978. He’s a former Appropriations Committee chairman and currently the top Republican on the Agriculture Committee. McDaniel, who announced his campaign in October, has received support from political action committees that have helped tea party-friendly candidates in other states.
Candidates in the Democratic primary for Senate are former 1st District U.S. Rep. Travis Childers of Booneville, who served in the House from mid-2008 through early 2011 and announced his Senate candidacy Friday; William Bond Compton Jr. of Meridian, who has run unsuccessfully for governor and mayor; Bill Marcy of Vicksburg, who has twice run unsuccessfully for the 2nd District House seat as a tea party Republican; and Jonathan Rawl of Oxford.
In north Mississippi’s 1st District, candidates in the Democratic primary are Ron Dickey of Horn Lake and Rex Weathers of Glen. Weathers has run unsuccessfully for the 1st District seat in the past. The GOP’s Nunnelee, of Tupelo, served in the state Senate before unseating Childers in 2010.
In the 2nd District, which stretches through the Delta and into Jackson, Democrats are Rep. Bennie Thompson of Bolton and Damien Fairconetue of Clinton. No Republican entered the race. Thompson has held the seat since winning a 1993 special election and is the top Democrat on the House Homeland Security Committee.
In the central 3rd District, Rep. Gregg Harper of Pearl, who was first elected in 2008, faces Hardy Caraway in the Republican primary. Democrats are Jim Liljeberg of Bay Springs, Douglas MacArthur “Doug” Magee of Mendenhall and Dennis Quinn of Magnolia.
In the southern 4th District, Rep. Steven Palazzo of Biloxi, who was first elected in 2010, faces Republican challengers Tom Carter of Carriere, Tavish Kelly of Picayune, former U.S. Rep. Gene Taylor of Bay St. Louis and Ron Vincent of Hattiesburg. Taylor was elected to the seat as a Democrat in 1989 and served until Palazzo unseated him. Taylor filed qualifying papers as a Republican on Friday. Democrats running in the 4th District are Trish Causey of Ocean Springs and Matt Moore of Biloxi. Moore ran unsuccessfully for the seat in 2012.
U.S. senators are elected for six-year terms, and House members are elected for two-year terms. Mississippi’s other senator, Republican Roger Wicker, is not up for re-election this year.
Independent candidates for Senate and House also faced a 5 p.m. Saturday qualifying deadline to enter the November general election. They do not have party primaries.