Supreme Court sides with Democratic party to disqualify candidate from 2023 statewide elections
JACKSON, Miss. (WLOX) - A man hoping to run as a Democratic candidate for Mississippi’s governor will not appear on the ballot. This comes after a ruling from the Mississippi Supreme Court.
Bob Hickingbottom originally sued following his disqualification for candidacy as governor and won his lawsuit against the Mississippi State Democratic Party.
According to court records, Hickingbottom was originally eliminated from contention as Governor by the Mississippi State Democratic Party due to a violation of Section 23-15-811, which states that candidates must disclose campaign finances.
The court recognized the fact that Hickingbottom has, to date, failed to provide financial reports from his 2019 push for Governor and also failed to file a statement of economic interest with the Mississippi Ethics Commission.
However, Judge Forrest A. Johnson, Jr. stated that even with Hickingbottom’s violations, they do not and should not affect his eligibility for Governor. He cites Article 5, Section 117 of the Miss. Constitution, which states the following:
- the Governor must be of at least 30 years of age
- the Governor must have at least 20 years of U.S. citizenship
- the Governor must have 5 years of residency in Mississippi next preceding day of his election
Additionally, in an email sent from the party’s executive committee to Hickingbottom informing him of his disqualification, they only stated that he “did not meet the statutory requirements” yet failed to clarify what requirements he didn’t meet.
“There is a difference between qualifications for governor . . . and penalties for failure to file an economic statement of interest,” the court order reads. “Qualifications are the core, personal eligibility requirements set out by the Mississippi Constitution. Either you are or you are not.”
Mississippi GOP Chairman Frank Bordeaux shared the following thoughts on the ruling:
“Brandon Presley and his Democratic Party allies corruptly pushed his African American opponent off the ballot. A judge just ruled their actions are illegal and unethical, and now Presley faces a primary challenge. Why did Brandon Presley work so hard to prevent an African American candidate from accessing the ballot?”
The Mississippi Democratic Party filed an appeal under the notion that “it was unreasonable for the Plaintiff to wait 76 days after receiving the notification that he would not be on the ballot to file his circuit court complaint.”
“If the Plaintiff’s last-minute entry into the party primary election were to be ordered, county party executive committees and election officials in all 82 counties would be burdened with significant time and expense in having to contend with a contested party primary election for Governor,” the proposed bill of exceptions reads.
“To allow a person such as the Plaintiff to have slept on his legal rights, and then to be placed on the ballot at this late juncture, will only encourage other dissatisfied persons to burden the circuit courts with late in the game election contests.”
The Mississippi Supreme Court has now decided that Hickingbottom did file too late, and cited that due to ballot deadlines for the Aug. 8 primary election, the court decision is final.
“This Court’s finding that Hickingbottom’s petition was untimely filed is dispositive, and we decline to address the other issues raised by the DEC,” the ruling stated. “This Court also finds that, in light of the impending ballot deadlines for the August 8, 2023 primary election, it is necessary that our decision be final.
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