Veteran Mississippi congressman in runoff election fight to hold seat

Published: Jun. 25, 2022 at 9:30 PM EDT
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - Mississippi Congressman Steven Palazzo has been hitting the campaign trail hard in advance of Tuesday’s runoff election.

Palazzo said he believes he is a runoff election with Jackson County Sheriff Mike Ezell because of low voter turnout.

“Many of the people I talked to didn’t even know there was an election,” Palazzo said.

Ezell has based much of his campaign around the allegation that Palazzo isn’t visible in Mississippi and voted virtually more than 60 times last year in Congress.

“I’ve heard all around this district. Where is Steven Palazzo?” Ezell said. “He’s not here. So I will be available. I’ll stand up. I’ll show up, and I’ll do my job.”

Palazzo’s opponents have for years pointed to a House Ethics Committee investigation into the congressman’s alleged misuse of campaign funds.

The veteran lawmaker denies the allegations.

Palazzo touts his long standing role in Congress and his position on the House Appropriations Committee, which he says allows him to help the district.

“Whether we’re delivering for our ship yard, or our military installations or caring for our veterans, or just helping to build roads and bridges,” Palazzo said.

Palazzo led Ezell by just 6 points this year- sending both candidates into a runoff- because neither won more than 50% of the vote.

Mississippi State professor Brian Shoup said Palazzo might be struggling because the Republican party base is shifting toward more confrontational candidates.

“We might be seeing something that political scientists call a partisan realignment, and what a realignment is, is that the underlying base that kind of votes for your party, kind of changes,” Shoup said.

Republican Mississippi Congressman Michael Guest is also in a competitive runoff election against challenger Michael Cassidy Tuesday.

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