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Dems Pick Ty Pinkins to Replace Shuwaski Young As Secretary of State Candidate

Ty Pinkins stands outside in front of the Mississippi capitol building
Attorney Ty Pinkins, pictured, will replace Shuwaski Young as the Democratic candidate for Mississippi secretary of state on the the Nov. 7 general election ballot, the Mississippi Democratic Party announced at a press conference at the Mississippi Capitol Building in Jackson, Miss., on Sept. 7, 2023. Photo courtesy Ty Pinkins campaign 

Democrat Ty Pinkins will replace Shuwaski Young as the party’s secretary of state candidate on the Nov. 7 general election ballot, the Mississippi Democratic Party announced Thursday at a press conference at the Capitol in Jackson, Miss., on Thursday.

Pinkins will face incumbent Republican Secretary of State Michael Watson. Young officially became the party’s nominee to challenge Watson in the August primaries, but withdrew from the race in late August due to health reasons. The Board of Election Commissioners, made up of the governor, secretary of state and attorney general, approved Young’s request to drop out Wednesday.

Military veteran Pinkins, 48, lives in Vicksburg, Miss., and was a lawyer with the Mississippi Center for Justice. He has represented Mississippi workers in fair-pay lawsuits against employers. The attorney has been working over the past two years to help Black farm workers in the Delta receive equal pay as white South African counterparts working the same jobs.

Pinkins accused Watson and other Republicans of restricting Mississippians’ access to voting at the expense of “minority and poor communities.”

“Republican lawmakers and state leaders have carefully gerrymandered and redrawn districts to limit the voting strength of minority and poor communities,” Pinkins said at the press conference. “They’ve refused to allow online registration and early voting. They’ve made it cost-prohibitive and sometimes impossible to vote absentee, even with a valid reason.” Though Watson has previously voiced support for online voter registration, there has been no movement on the issue since he took office in 2020.

Michael Watson speaking at a mic with one hand partially raised in gesture
Democrat Ty Pinkins will face incumbent Republican Mississippi Secretary of State Michael Watson in the Nov. 7, 2023, statewide elections. Photo by Ashton Pittman

In January, Pinkins launched a campaign for U.S. Senate, seeking the Democratic nomination to run against incumbent Republican Roger Wicker in the November 2024 national election. He did not say Thursday whether he will continue running for Senate.

“We are focusing on the secretary of state race because Mississippi voters deserve a choice in this November’s election, and then we’ll see what happens after that,” a spokesperson for Pinkins told the Mississippi Free Press Thursday afternoon. “But we are in this race to win it.”

The general election is Nov. 7, and voters must register in person by Oct. 9, 2023. Mailed voter applications must be postmarked by Oct. 10, 2023, to be eligible to vote on Election Day. Find more information about voting at

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