Hughes: Hosemann needs to resign to keep election fair

Published 11:08 am Thursday, January 10, 2019

JACKSON — A Democratic candidate for Mississippi’s lieutenant governor  publicly asked his Republican opponent to resign from his position as the top elections officer in the state.

When longtime Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann announced Wednesday he would run for lieutenant governor on the GOP ticket, challenger state Rep. Jay Hughes, D-Oxford, called foul.

Hughes contends it would be unfair for Hosemann to oversee an election in which he would personally be on the ballot. In Mississippi, the secretary of state’s office is in charge of elections.

Hosemann’s campaign has not publicly commented yet. It’s worth noting, however, that Hosemann’s state office has overseen every Mississippi election since he first took office in 2008, including two in which he faced challengers.

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“One of the most important pillars of our state government is a fair and trusted election process where there is nonbiased supervision of the entire process,” Hughes said.

The Democratic candidate also alleges Hosemann has spent public dollars during his time in office to promote his name and likeness with marketing efforts.

“In these 2019 elections, with such a divided political environment popular confidence could be undermined because you will be overseeing the election in which you are a candidate for one of the highest offices in the state,” Hughes wrote in a letter to Hosemann. “This conflict, on its face, is contrary to the most fundamental principle of elections – that an independent and impartial election authority manages the electoral process.”
Hughes said allowing Hosemann to remain in office with oversight over the election and any disputes that may arise from the elections process is patently unfair.
 “This is no different than getting to be the judge and jury in your own trial,” Hughes said.