JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi’s governor and attorney general have approved a secretary of state candidate’s withdrawal from the race due to illness, allowing the state Democratic Party to choose a new one.
Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves and Attorney General Lynn Fitch approved the request on Wednesday at a State Board of Election Commissioners meeting. The third member of the commission, incumbent Republican Secretary of State Michael Watson, who is running for reelection, did not vote “to avoid any appearance of impropriety,” he said in a statement posted online.
A Neshoba County native, Young had centered his campaign for the Nov. 7 general election around reforms that he said would make voting easier, such as expanding early voting, mail-in ballots and online voter registration.
Elizabeth Jonson, a spokesperson for the secretary of state’s office, said there is no statutory deadline for Democrats to nominate a replacement. Once they select a candidate, they have two days to notify the office.
The Associated Press sent an email to the Mississippi Democratic Party asking if it had a candidate in mind or a time frame for nominating someone.
Watson was elected secretary of state in 2019 after three terms in the state Senate. He says his office has worked to build confidence in Mississippi’s voting process by focusing on election security.
Michael Goldberg is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues. Follow him at @mikergoldberg.
Cover Photo: Shuwaski Young, the Democratic candidate for Mississippi’s Third Congressional District addresses the crowd at the pavilion in Founders Square at the Neshoba County Fair in Philadelphia, Miss., Wednesday, July 27, 2022. At a Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2023, State Board of Election Commissioners meeting, Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves and Attorney General Lynn Fitch approved Young’s request to withdraw as the Democratic nominee for secretary of state due to health issues. The move allows the state Democratic Party to substitute a candidate for the November 7 general election. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File)