Mississippi U.S. Reps Face Challenges from the Left and the Right in 2020


A University of Mississippi law professor and self-described "Democratic socialist" is challenging her district's U.S. House representative, Republican Trent Kelly, in this year's election. Antonia Eliason, who is running as a Democrat, was the only candidate who filed to challenge the House District 1 congressman by the Jan. 10 deadline.

"It's time to elect progressives in Mississippi," Eliason said in a Jan. 13 press statement. "As a Democratic socialist, I intend to bring new energy to the political landscape of Northeast Mississippi and to our Democratic Party."

'We Must Confront Poverty, Inequality, Racial Discrimination'

Eliason, who has lived in Oxford, Miss., since 2013, pledged to focus her campaign on "environmental justice, universal health care, and workers' rights."

"We must confront poverty, inequality and racial discrimination at their source. With the right policies at the national and state level and with the engagement of grassroots social movements, Mississippi could become a hub for sustainable development thanks to our abundant resources," she said.

The district includes the Memphis-area suburbs, which have experienced a boom in industrial growth in recent years, with national corporations like Amazon bringing facilities—and jobs—to the area. That has facilitated population shifts, like in the DeSoto County House District where Democrat Hester Jackson-McCray, an African American woman, turned a once-deep-red Mississippi House district blue in last year's elections.

"Mississippi deserves a dynamic economy through new industries such as processing hemp for petroleum product alternatives. Northeast Mississippi must be at the forefront of the Green New Deal so that every Mississippian can have a better life," Eliason said in a Jan. 13 press statement.

During his time in office, Kelly has voted as a solidly right-wing House lawmaker. The Republican congressman opposed the Equality Act, which would have granted LGBT Americans the same protections other groups are guaranteed under the 1964 Civil Rights Act. He also voted

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