Mississippi House Speaker Philip Gunn called Ronnie Crudup, Jr. Tuesday evening to congratulate him on his victory after voters in south Jackson elected the local activist to fill a vacated seat in the House of Representatives. Within hours, Crudup sat in the Republican speaker's front-row seat on the House floor this morning, already wearing the pin House members customarily wear.
"Today, we are privileged to have with us Ronnie Crudup Jr., who won that election yesterday on the first go-round," Gunn said Wednesday morning. "Congratulations, we're glad to have you here."
Crudup won 63 percent of the vote in Hinds County's House District 71 race, defeating opponents Edelia J. Carthan and Stephanie Skipper. Former Democratic Rep. Adrienne Wooten vacated the seat after she won a circuit-judge position last year.
The House's newest addition is not officially a member of the legislative body yet, though. First, Hinds County must certify the election results to the secretary of state's office. Then, Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann will certify the results and send them to Gunn, who will swear the new representative-elect in. Hinds has not yet sent its certified results, Assistant Secretary of State of Communications Leah Rupp Smith told the Jackson Free Press Wednesday morning.
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Crudup is a Democrat, but had to run as an independent per Mississippi law, which does not allow party identification for candidates in special elections.
He is the director of New Horizon Ministries, a nonprofit, faith-based social-service Christian ministry that focuses on issues involving childcare, affordable home ownership, and community arts and sports. His father, Ronnie Crudup, Sr., is the pastor of New Horizon Church International in Jackson.
The representative-elect spends a lot of his time trying to reverse the devastating effects of white flight and demographic shifts in south Jackson, which left