HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny DuPree is at it again, but this time the election campaign is on a much larger scale.
"I think next year will be a good opportunity for Mississippi," said DuPree.
An opportunity for DuPree to trade his seat as mayor for the one of governor, in an effort to change not only how the nation sees the sate, but also how Mississippians see it as well, which DuPree says is long overdue.
"Mississippi is seen in many ways of our country as number five zero, as number 50. We need to change that image," said DuPree.
DuPree says he never really thought about running for governor until he began receiving phone calls asking him what he would do next.
"I mean this was next. Me being mayor to me was the greatest job that I could ever have, greatest job I could ever dream of having," said DuPree.
Now, next could be the state's top office. Having served on the Hattiesburg School Board, Forrest County Board of Supervisors and as Hattiesburg's Mayor, DuPree says his grassroots politics could give him the edge.
"That's the difference that no one else, no other candidate can bring to this campaign. We've been close to the people for 22 years," said DuPree.
Even though current Governor Haley Barbour is term limited the race could still be one with heavy political contenders, with rumors of Lt. Governor Phil Bryant also eyeing the seat.
"Certainly I don't think that I would have told people that my intensions are to run if I didn't think that we could have a credible campaign, could have one that we certainly could win," said DuPree.
And with a busy agenda now before him, DuPree says he will stay committed to the Hub City.
"I will not neglect the citizens who have elected us be mayor of this city. I didn't do it the last time I ran for re-election. I didn't do it for the county when I ran for mayor. We will do our job here and it will hopefully it will invigorate me to do an even better job," said DuPree.
The next step for DuPree is to begin putting together a campaign committee to get a feel for support and financial backing throughout the state. He hopes to be qualified by the first of the year with elections next fall.