Hattiesburg holds elections for state representatives


Hattiesburg held elections on Tuesday, Sept. 12 to fill District 102’s seat in the Mississippi House of Representatives. The seat remains vacant after none of the four candidates running for the position were able to obtain 50 percent of the vote plus one. Local news reported that a total of only 3,325 of the 15,753 registered voters within the Central Hattiesburg voting district turned out, a dismal 21.1 percent.

Because of this, a runoff election will be held Oct. 3 between the two candidates who obtained the majority of the vote, Missy Warren McGee and Kathryn Rehner. McGee earned approximately 45 percent of the vote with 1,475 votes while Rehner trailed with 24 percent by earning 807 votes in total. Casey A. Mercier and Cory Ferraez earned 702 and 313 votes respectively. McGee, who previously worked at the University of Southern Mississippi, served as a legislative aide to former senator Trent Lott. Rehner currently resides as the project director for the Mississippi Health Access Collaborative, a project within The University of Southern Mississippi’s school of Social Work to help residents of Mississippi’s 24 southernmost counties with health coverage. WDAM 7 reported statements from McGee and Rehner concerning the runoff election below.

McGee’s statement read, “I’m incredibly grateful for the support I’ve received. This campaign for me has always been about putting Hattiesburg first, it is the place that has been my lifelong home and the place that I love with all my heart. I want to congratulate all the candidates on a hard fought, positive campaign I look forward to continuing the positive dialogue about how we can best position Hattiesburg to reach the potential we know is within our grasp.”

Rehner said, “I am excited. I’m grateful for everybody that came out and supported me and that we have the opportunity to continue to work to put people first in House District 102 and try to win it all on October 3.”

The seat was previously filled by Toby Barker, but Barker resigned from the state House in June 2017 after he was elected as Hattiesburg’s 35th mayor. Whoever fills the position will be elected to a four-year term and be responsible for writing and passing legislature for the state of Mississippi.

Students should be fully aware of their right and ability to vote. To vote, one must be 18 years of age. Students are also eligible to vote in local and state elections who have resided in the county or municipality where you wish to vote for at least 30 days, and intend to make the school their residence. If a student moved from one county to another to attend university and wishes to vote in local elections, the student must register in their new country of residence (Forrest County for students attending USM). Individuals cannot be registered nor vote in more than one county. Individuals must be registered to vote 30 days before the election day they wish to participate in takes place.