Candidate profiles for 4th Congressional District primary elections

Running for the seventh time, Palazzo has never been in a runoff in the previous six campaigns.
Running for the seventh time, Palazzo has never been in a runoff in the previous six campaigns.(Source: WDAM)
Published: May. 24, 2022 at 5:45 PM CDT
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PINE BELT, Miss. (WDAM) - Congressman Steven Palazzo is looking to keep his seat in Washington D.C. as primary elections are approaching.

After collecting 66.8 percent of the vote in the Republican primary in 2020, Palazzo ran unopposed in the general election.

Running for the seventh time, Palazzo has never been in a runoff in the previous six campaigns.

In the June 7 primaries, Palazzo will have to take on 6 other Republican candidates; Farmer Fresh Produce found Carl Boyanton; former Gulfport Police Department officer Raymond Brooks; Jackson County Sheriff Mike Ezell; Poplarville native Kidron Peterson; Gulf Coast Chamber Foundation Chairman Clay Wagner and former 19th Judicial District Assistant District Attorney, Brice Wiggins.

In this year’s Democratic primary, former Hattiesburg mayor Johnny DuPree will go against Parkway Heights United Methodist Church pastor David Sellers.

Libertarian candidate, Petal Fire Department Lt. Alden Johnson, will face both the winners of the Democratic and Republican primaries during the Nov. 8 general elections.



Steven Palazzo (Incumbent):

  • Palazzo is running for the seventh time and has never been in a runoff in the previous six campaigns. After collecting 66.8 percent of the vote in the Republican primary in 2020, Palazzo ran unopposed in the general election.
  • Born in Gulfport
  • Graduated from St. John High School
  • Earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Southern Mississippi
  • Served in the Marine Corps Reserve, including a tour of duty in the Gulf War; currently enlisted in the Mississippi Army National Guard
  • An accountant by profession, he served in the Mississippi House of Representatives (District 116) from 2006 to 2011 before winning a seat in Congress.

Quote: “Washington needs more Mississippi values. Faith, family and freedom are the principles I was raised on and the principles I live by as I represent you in Congress.”

Carl Boyanton:

  • Also ran in 2020
  • Founder of Farmer Fresh Produce
  • Memphis native; moved to Mississippi in the early 1960s
  • Raised/educated in Picayune.

Quote: “One of the main reasons I am running for Congress is because of the inept leadership and outright corruption we have in ‘The Swamp’ (Washington, D.C.).”

Raymond Brooks

  • Born in San Rafael, Cal.
  • Mississippi resident since 1979
  • Served with the Gulfport Police Department for two decades.

Quote: “I am a true conservative, a constitutionalist, and a faithful man of God. For nearly 20 years, I have served the people of South Mississippi as a police officer, and I have tried to do so with honor, respect, and dedication to my community I know firsthand what it takes to protect our civil liberties, and I’m ready to defend them in Washington.”

Mike Ezell

  • Pascagoula native
  • Pascagoula High School graduate in 1977
  • B.A. from USM in criminal justice in 1997
  • 40 years in law enforcement; Jackson County Sheriff since 2014

Quote: “Since I began my campaign in April (2021), I’ve been working as hard as I can to earn the trust of the people of this district … (I)t’s time we had a Congressman who is willing to show up, stand up and speak up for the conservative values of our state. In Congress, I will use my experience in law enforcement to fight for stronger borders, individual liberties and freedoms and to support policies of law and order and protect the safety of law-abiding citizens.”

Kidron Peterson

  • Poplarville native/resident
  • Machinist for 21 years at C&C Machine
  • U.S. Army Reserve (2003-11).

Quote: “My campaign slogan, ‘God. Family. Country.,’ reflects my values. Serving God, my family and my country are my top priorities.”

Clay Wagner

  • Kiln resident
  • Mississippi State University graduate
  • Retired business executive (Senior vice president of Hancock Whitney Bank)
  • Hancock Chamber board member
  • Chairman of Gulf Coast Chamber Foundation

Quote: “I am a born and raised Mississippian who wants to see both my children and grandchildren and yours have the same opportunities in our state as they do in other states. I want to see Mississippi prosper and be a place that people are proud to call home. I will lead with a Christian Conservative foundation that dictates my decision making and I will utilize decades of business experience that will benefit generations of Mississippians. We deserve better.”

Brice Wiggins

  • Pascagoula resident
  • B.A. from Tulane University/JD from Mississippi College (JD)
  • Lawyer
  • Three-term State Senator (District 52)
  • Served as Assistant District Attorney (19th Judicial District)
  • Partner in Taggart, Rimes, and Wiggins.

Quote: “I’m proud to fight for our true conservative values every day. You work hard and deserve honest and faithful public servants, ones who put you above themselves — not ones who have succumbed to the temptations of power, access and money.”


Johnny DuPree

  • Born in Fort Benning, Ga.; moved to Hattiesburg as a small boy
  • Graduate of Jones County Junior College
  • University of Southern Mississippi (BA, MA)
  • Jackson State University (Ph.D.)
  • Former four-term Hattiesburg mayor
  • Former Forrest County supervisor
  • Former Hattiesburg Public School District trustee (school board).

Quote: “I’m running to ensure that every Mississippian has a fair shot at the ‘American Dream,’ to rebuild our economy and to make government more accessible as well as more accountable to the people of our state.”

David Sellers

  • Hattiesburg resident
  • Jones County Junior College graduate
  • Degree in divinity from Emory College
  • Pastor at Parkway Heights United Methodist Church
  • Serves at Pine Grove Behavioral Health and Addiction Services; The Open Door Community.

Quote: “I’m running for Congress because I’m tired of seeing Mississippi on the bottom of all the good lists and top of all the bad lists... We can change that by focusing on education, raising the minimum wage and ending the failed war on drugs.”

Libertarian (General election)

Alden Johnson:

  • Jackson native
  • Petal resident
  • Attended Jones Junior College
  • Lieutenant with the Petal Fire Department
  • Certified Emergency Medical Technician

Quote: “2020 was just the beginning. Voters are fed up with both ‘main’ parties. Now is the time to be loud and let the people know that we are the party of true representation and liberty.”

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