JACKSON, Miss. — Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves announced Friday that he is postponing the March 31 Republican primary runoff in the state's 2nd Congressional District because of the coronavirus. The new date is June 23.
Mississippi joins a number of other states that have postponed elections amid the global pandemic.
“We face an unprecedented health crisis. Conducting an election during this outbreak would force poll workers and voters to place themselves in unnecessary risk," Reeves said in a statement. “It's important that we exercise our rights as Americans to a free and fair election, but so is ensuring the health and safety of all Mississippians."
The Republican runoff is between Thomas L. Carey and Brian Flowers, who are running low-budget campaigns. The winner will advance to the November general election to face Democratic U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson, who is chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee.
Thompson has been in Washington since winning a special election in 1993. He is the longest-serving member of Mississippi's current congressional delegation. He is also the only Democrat and the only African American representing the state on Capitol Hill.
The 2nd District stretches along the Mississippi River, through the Delta and into Jackson.
Carey is a retired real estate agent who ran unsuccessfully for U.S. Senate in 2014. Flowers is a military veteran who works at Grand Gulf Nuclear Station. The candidate eliminated Tuesday was B.C. Hammond. He is a volunteer firefighter and has run unsuccessfully for the Mississippi Legislature.
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Emily Wagster Pettus, The Associated Press