One of Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann's potential opponents is calling on him to resign his office while he runs for lieutenant governor.
"One of the most important pillars of our state government is a fair and trusted election process where there is non-biased supervision of the entire process," Rep. Jay Hughes, D-Lafayette, said in a press release Thursday. Hughes is running in the Democratic primary for lieutenant governor.
As secretary of state, Hosemann, a Republican, is responsible for administering and monitoring the state's elections and for overseeing campaign finance and lobbying activities. It could raise questions if Hosemann is in charge of administering an election he's running in, Hughes said.
"This is no different than getting to be judge and jury in your own trial," Hughes said.
Hughes demanded that Hosemann resign his elected position in a letter dated Jan. 10.
"In the 2019 elections, 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 after congratulating Hosemann for entering the race. "This conflict, on its face, is contrary to the most fundamental principles of elections—that an independent and impartial election authority manages the electoral process."
"In light of these facts and genuine issues," Hughes continued, "I most respectfully urge you to immediately resign as Secretary of State and hand over the responsibility of overseeing the elections in 2019 to a completely neutral authority."
Hosemann's predecessor, Democrat Eric Clark, did not run for re-election in 2007, nor did he seek higher office. Voters elected Hosemann in 2008.
Georgia: A Cautionary Tale
The last time a Mississippi secretary of state ran for higher office while serving was in 1995, when Dick Molpus ran as the Democratic nominee for governor. He did not resign the office, lost the race to