STARKVILLE, Miss. — Six Republican candidates for an open congressional seat in Mississippi are saying they will be loyal to President Donald Trump.
The 3rd District candidates spoke Monday in Starkville at a forum sponsored by the Oktibbeha County Republican Party, the Commercial Dispatch reported.
The Republican incumbent, Gregg Harper, is not seeking re-election after 10 years in office in the 3rd District, which includes all of 20 counties and parts of four. The district makes a diagonal from southwestern Mississippi, through the metro Jackson area and north into Starkville.
Party primaries are June 5, with runoffs June 26. The general election is Nov. 6.
The two Democrats in the 3rd District race, military veteran Michael Aycox of Newton and state Rep. Michael Ted Evans of Preston, were not invited to the GOP forum in Starkville.
The Republican field has two health care professionals, Whit Hughes of Madison and Morgan Dunn of Magee; a state senator, Sally Doty of Brookhaven; a businessman, Perry Parker of Seminary; a district attorney, Michael Guest of Brandon; and an educational consultant, Katherine Tate of Jackson.
All said they support a border wall. Tate said she wants to deport people who were brought into the United States illegally as children. Parker said American agriculture needs a legal, sustainable guest worker program.
Hughes and Parker criticized Trump’s position on tariffs. After the president announced his intention to set tariffs on Chinese steel, China responded by suggesting its own tariffs, including 25 percent on soybeans, Mississippi’s third largest export product behind only forest and poultry products.
“China is our second biggest import partner on soybeans,” Hughes said. “If tariffs and a trade war end up impacting that dynamic, I promise you there are growers in South America who will step in and fill that void.”
Parker said China’s practice of “stealing our technology” demands a U.S. response, but he does not favor Mississippi farmers bearing the weight of that conflict.
“These tariffs can absolutely negatively affect the people of the 3rd District and the whole state,” Parker said.
Only Tate stood squarely behind Trump’s China policy.
“These trade wars are necessary,” Tate said. “They’re going to be good for Mississippi in the long run.”