Court: Dems must put Dale back on ballot

A judge has ordered the Mississippi Democratic Party to put Insurance Commissioner George Dale back on the party's primary ballot.

Calhoun County Circuit Judge Henry Lackey said he does not have the power to grant Dale's request to run as an independent.

"This court does not have the power or authority to change the law," Lackey wrote.

On a split decision, members of the Democratic Party state executive committee voted in mid-March to remove Dale from the Aug. 7 primary ballot because he publicly supported President Bush, a Republican, in 2004. The decision came about two weeks after candidates' March 1 filing deadline.

Dale filed a lawsuit challenging the removal of his name from the ballot.

Party officials offered to take Dale back, but he asked permission to run as an independent. His attorney said news coverage of Dale's status could hurt him in the primary.