Mississippi House Rep. Nick Bain, the Republican who authored Mississippi’s ban on gender-affirming care for transgender minors this year and faced criticisms for his 2020 vote to change the state flag, has conceded after gun store owner Brad Mattox defeated him in the Republican primary for House District 2 in Alcorn County by just 26 votes.
The incumbent said in a statement this evening that he decided to concede following the filing of the final results from the Aug. 29 GOP primary runoff.
“I will not be returning to the Capitol for the next Legislative session,” said Bain, who is currently the chair of the powerful House Judiciary B Committee. “While these results are not what I wanted, I am grateful that I had the opportunity to serve the people of District two for 12 years. It was my intent from the beginning to create a legacy that would make my children proud, that would offer all Mississippians an opportunity to rise to the opportunities of the 21st century, and, as it is said, to leave the campground cleaner than I found it.”
He added that, as a father, it is “incumbent on me to show them how to say goodbye and respect the fundamental principle of our republic, the peaceful transfer of power.” Because Democrats did not field a candidate in District 2, Mattox will have no opponent in the November general election and will become the district’s next representative in January.
The incumbent’s defeat came after he faced criticism from some Republicans for his 2020 vote to retire the State’s old 1894 Confederate-themed state flag that the racist leaders of the past selected as part of their efforts to enshrine white supremacy following the end of Reconstruction.
The Daily Journal’s Gideon Hess reported in late August that third-place finisher Chris Wilson, whose main issue with Bain was his flag vote, teamed up with Mattox after losing the Aug. 8 primary.
“The key thing that’s hurt Nick and what started me is when they took our right to vote away on that flag. The county folks are a lot more upset than the city folks are about how that flag vote was handled,” the Daily Journal reported Wilson saying in late August.
Bain first won his House seat in 2011 while running as a Democrat, but switched to the Republican Party when he last ran for reelection in 2019. During the campaign, he noted that he helped author anti-abortion legislation that led to the U.S. Supreme Court case that overturned Roe v. Wade and allowed Mississippi’s near-total abortion ban to take effect in 2022.
Bain’s most prominent bill of the 2022 legislative session was the bill banning gender-affirming care for transgender minors, known as The REAP Act, which prohibits health care options such as puberty blockers and hormone replacement therapy for anyone under 18. The law also bans gender-affirming surgeries, but no providers offered those in Mississippi to begin with. Republicans across the nation have pushed anti-trans bills in recent years in hopes of shoring up support among conservative primary voters.
On the same day voters rejected Bain in District 2’s Republican primary, Democratic voters in District 66 made history by nominating Fabian Nelson, who faces no opponent in November’s general election and will be the first openly gay person elected to the Mississippi Legislature when he is sworn in come January 2024.
The general election is Nov. 7. Voters must register to vote in person by Oct. 9, 2023, or have their mailed voter applications postmarked by Oct. 10, 2023, to qualify to vote on Election Day. The secretary of state’s website has more information on voting at sos.ms.gov.