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Meet the Candidates for U.S. House of Representatives in Mississippi’s March 12 Primaries

11 candidates and one placeholder image on red or blue backgrounds
Mississippi voters will choose Republican and Democratic candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives in the March 12, 2024, primaries. Photos courtesy U.S. House of Representatives / Dianne Dodson Black / Bronco Williams / U.S. House of Representatives / Ron Eller / Andrew Scott Smith / Taylor Turcotte / U.S. House of Representatives / U.S. House of Representatives / Carl Boyanton / Michael McGill 

Mississippians will elect Republican and Democratic nominees for the U.S. House of Representatives in the state’s party primaries on Tuesday, March 12.

Use this guide to learn more about the candidates’ backgrounds and policy views.

Why this office is important: The U.S. House of Representatives is one of two bodies in Congress that can write and pass federal laws. The House has the exclusive right to draft revenue bills, impeach federal officers and elect the president if none of the candidates collect a majority of votes from the Electoral College.

1st Congressional District

Trent Kelly, Republican incumbent

Background: Incumbent U.S. House Rep. Trent Kelly is a Union, Miss., native and University of Mississippi graduate, where he also attended the School of Law. He is a major general in the Mississippi Army National Guard and the recipient of two Bronze Stars, the Combat Action Badge, the Bronze, Silver and Gold de Fleury medals. He served in Operation Desert Storm and multiple times in Iraq.

Kelly won a special runoff election in 2015 and has served in the U.S. House of Representatives ever since. He voted against impeaching former President Donald Trump after the Jan. 6 insurrection on the U.S. Capitol and opposed creating an independent commission to investigate the attack.

Trent Kelly
Photo courtesy U.S. House of Representatives

The representative also voted against a $1.7 trillion government-funding bill that included $600 million to help address the Jackson water crisis. Congress passed and President Joe Biden signed the bill into law in December 2022.

Kelly cosponsored H.R. 705, the Heartbeat Protection Act in 2022, which would enforce a nationwide ban on abortion once a baby’s heartbeat became detectable around six weeks of pregnancy. The bill died in committee during the 2022 legislative session.

He is running unopposed in the Republican primary.

Policy Views:

  • Opposes gun-control legislation
  • Says he wants to lower medication costs
  • Opposes abortion access
  • Wants to protect Social Security and Medicare access


Social Media: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Dianne Dodson Black, Democrat

Background: Dianne Dodson Black has been a cosmetologist and beauty-salon owner in Olive Branch, Miss., for 40 years. She unsuccessfully challenged incumbent Rep. Trent Kelly for the 1st Congressional District seat in the 2022 election. The candidate was the first Black woman to run for Congress in Mississippi’s 1st Congressional District.

Black says Medicaid expansion is the solution to improve the state’s health-care system. She supports the 2021 Women’s Health Protection Act, which would have created federal rights for citizens to access abortion. The House passed the bill in 2021, but it died in the Senate.

Dianne Dodson Black
Photo courtesy Dianne Dodson Black campaign

She wants to raise the minimum wage and pass the child tax credit. The president should forgive student-loan debt and Congress should enact “common-sense gun laws,” Black argues.

“I will be the person to give voters a seat at the table where decisions are made about how to spend our tax dollars, protect our health care and how to address the climate crisis,” she says on her website.

Policy Views:

  • Supports the Women’s Health Protection Act
  • Says she wants to enact “common-sense gun laws”
  • Supports raising the minimum wage
  • Says she wants to protect voting rights
  • Supports access to contraception and abortion
  • Supports forgiving student loan debt
  • Pro-criminal justice reform


Social Media: Twitter | Instagram

Bronco Williams, Democrat

Background: Journalist, educator and fiction writer Bronco Williams, aka Matthew Christopher Williams, is a Hernando, Miss., native. He teaches Spanish and theater at two local private schools.

The Democrat proposes raising teachers’ salaries and “securing” schools to make them safer for students and staff. Williams advocates for protecting the environment and preventing climate change while saving endangered wildlife. He supports reforming the criminal justice system and implementing gun-safety laws that do not strip citizens of their 2nd Amendment rights.

Bronco Williams
Photo courtesy Bronco Williams campaign

Voting should be accessible to all Americans and voter registration should be easier, Williams says.

“Taxes aren’t inherently a bad thing, as long as they’re being put toward something that benefits everyone,” he says on his website. “We need to change how our money’s being spent, so that it goes to things that we can use, and not to funding personal salaries.

Policy Views:

  • Wants to raise teachers’ salaries
  • Pro-criminal justice reform
  • Wants gun-safety laws
  • Wants to improve transportation
  • Proposes easier ballot access for third parties


Social Media: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

2nd Congressional District

Bennie Thompson, incumbent Democrat

Background: Rep. Bennie Thompson is a Bolton, Miss., native and has degrees from Tougaloo College and Jackson State University. He served as an alderman and as the mayor of Bolton, Miss., before he became a Hinds County supervisor in 1980. After 13 years as a supervisor, Thompson became Mississippi’s representative for the 2nd Congressional District in 1993.

The congressman voted to impeach former President Donald Trump after the January 6th insurrection. As chairman of the U.S. House Select Committee to Investigate January 6th, Thompson voted to refer the former president to the U.S. Department of Justice for prosecution after a lengthy investigation.

Bennie Thompson
Photo courtesy U.S. House of Representatives

In July 2022, Thompson asked the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate allegations that former Gov. Phil Bryant was involved in the misspending of $77 million Temporary Assistance for Needy Families funds. (Investigators have not accused Bryant of a crime, however).

The congressman led efforts in 2022 to give the City of Jackson $600 million in federal funds to help with the Jackson water crisis.

Policy Views:

  • Wants to protect civil rights
  • Wants to create more jobs through the Make It America Agenda
  • Backs Medicaid expansion
  • Wants to protect Social Security from cuts
  • Hopes to restructure FEMA
  • Wants to improve education through the Elementary and Secondary Education Act


Social Media: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Ron Eller, Republican

Background: West Virginia native Ron Eller retired as a captain in the U.S. Army after 20 years of service and many honors, including being named Soldier of the Year. He is currently a physician’s assistant working in cardiothoracic surgery at St. Dominic’s Hospital in Jackson, Miss.

The candidate unsuccessfully sought the nomination to challenge longtime Rep. Bennie Thompson in the 2022 election.

Eller says that while church and state are independent of each other, the church is critical to the integrity of the U.S. and claims the founding fathers built the country on Judeo-Christian beliefs. He does not support same-day voter registration and says that abortion should only be allowed if the pregnancy caused harm to the mother.

Ron Eller
Photo courtesy Ron Eller campaign

Eller believes that getting vaccinated is a personal choice and the government should not mandate it. He says he supports education and believes in education for incarcerated people.

“We need major prison reform to break the chain of repatriation of inmates. Inmates need to be taught life skills and an occupation to change their course,” he told the Mississippi Free Press in 2022.

Policy Views:

  • Opposes abortion access
  • Opposes gun-control laws
  • Wants to secure the U.S. borders by building a wall
  • Supports access to education for prisoners
  • Opposes same-day voter registration


Social Media: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Andrew Scott Smith, Republican

Background: Andrew Scott Smith grew up as the son of a single mother in Marion County, Miss. He has a degree in business administration from Mississippi State University and lives in the Jackson metropolitan area. He has worked in many fields, including the automotive industry and the real estate business.

The candidate wants to finish the Yazoo Pumps Drainage Project, which was supposed to stabilize backwater levels during floods and prevent it from ruining thousands of acres of farmland. The Environmental Protection Agency blocked the project in November 2021, saying the pumps violated the Clean Water Act and would damage thousands of acres of protected wetlands.

Andrew Scott Smith
Photo courtesy Andrew Scott Smith campaign

Revising Mississippi’s health-care system is one of Smith’s main priorities. He wants to help rural hospitals and get patients better access to health care. The candidate hopes to work on the mental-health care system and create modern mental-health facilities in the state that focus on compassionate, comprehensive care aimed to rehabilitate patients.

“We need some kind of actionable legislation to be able to put forward and keep them open,” Smith said in a promotional campaign video. “Our hospitals shouldn’t have to worry if they’re going to have the money to keep funding and keep the doors open.”

Policy Views:

  • Wants to finish the Yazoo Pumps Drainage Project
  • Wants to help rural hospitals by increasing funding
  • Hopes to revise mental-health care by creating modern mental-health facilities
  • Advocates for legalizing recreational marijuana
  • Believes voting rights should be restored for formerly incarcerated people


Social Media: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Taylor Turcotte, Republican

Background: Marketing and advertising professional Taylor Turcotte worked on congressional campaigns in the 2022 elections and supported Brian Flowers when he unsuccessfully ran against incumbent Rep. Bennie Thompson. Her political inspiration is her grandfather, who was a prisoner of war in World War II.

She helped with Hinds County ballot box inspections during the 2023 elections. Turcotte has focused her campaign on listening to voters and making laws based on their suggestions, she says. The candidate says the government should have a limited presence in citizens’ everyday lives

Taylor Turcotte
Photo courtesy Taylor Turcotte campaign

Turcotte opposes gender-affirming care for transgender people and opposes and diversity, equity and inclusion efforts in medical care. She supports the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2022 ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade and allowed states like Mississippi to implement near-total bans on abortion; she says the Dobbs ruling gave power back to the states.

“Politicians see voters; I see customers,” Turcotte said in a promotional TikTok video. “With my business politics, I realize that a market and a constituency share common principles. Success is achieved by understanding and addressing the needs of the majority.”

Policy Views:

  • Says she believes in “limited government”
  • Supports the 2022 Dobbs ruling
  • Says she is “pro-law enforcement”
  • Opposes gun control laws


Social Media: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | TikTok

3rd Congressional District

Michael Guest, incumbent Republican

Background: Incumbent Rep. Michael Guest is running for his fourth term as representative for Mississippi’s 3rd congressional district. He is a Rankin County resident and a graduate of Mississippi State University and the University of Mississippi School of Law. The congressman was the district attorney for Madison and Rankin Counties before he began serving in the U.S. House.

As chairman of the House Ethics Committee, Guest introduced a resolution to impeach Republican U.S. House Rep. George Santos of New York from Congress in November 2023.

Guest unsuccessfully pushed a national six-week abortion ban with no rape or incest exceptions in mid-2022. However, Mississippi implemented an abortion ban later that year after the Dobbs ruling that does not include exceptions for rape once cardiac activity is detectable (around six weeks).

Michael Guest
Photo courtesy U.S. House of Representatives

The congressman supported a May 2021 bill that created a bipartisan commission to investigate the Jan. 6 attacks on the U.S. Capitol, but later opposed establishing the congressional select committee that investigated the attacks. He voted against a $1.7 trillion government funding bill in 2022 that included $600 million to alleviate the Jackson water crisis. Guest has endorsed former President Donald Trump for reelection and accepted an endorsement from him.

“Mississippi is on the front lines, and I’m proud that Mississippi has led the fight in Dobbs v. (the Jackson Women’s Health Organization) to undo Roe v. Wade and protect life as we know it,” Guest said in an interview on Centerpoint TV in November 2023.

Policy Views:

  • Says he wants to lower taxes
  • Opposes abortion access
  • Says he backs law enforcement
  • Opposes gun-control laws


Social Media: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube

4th Congressional District

Mike Ezell, incumbent Republican

Background: U.S. House Rep. Mike Ezell is a Pascagoula, Miss., native who graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi, the Mississippi Law Enforcement Training Academy and the FBI National Academy. He previously worked for the Pascagoula Police Department, serving as its police chief for two terms before becoming the sheriff of Jackson County in 2014. Ezell started his first term in Congress in 2022 after defeating former U.S. House Rep. Steven Palazzo.

He co-sponsored the federal Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act, which would have banned transgender child and adult athletes from participating in girls’ and womens’ sports. The Republican-led U.S. House passed the bill, but it died in the U.S. Senate in 2023.

Mike Ezell
Photo courtesy U.S. House of Representatives

Ezell argued for banning access to the abortion pill mifepristone in a 2022 friend-of-the-court brief. He calls himself a “long-time supporter” of former President Donald Trump and pushes for “Trump-era policies that keep our nation strong.”

“I believe in smaller government, I believe in less taxes, I believe in more accountability,” Ezell said in an interview with C-SPAN in January 2023.

Policy Views:

  • Opposes abortion access
  • Says he supports law enforcement
  • Opposes gun control laws
  • Wants to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border
  • Opposes cutting military budget


Social Media: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube

Carl Boyanton, Republican

Background: Carl Boyanton was born in Memphis, Tenn., and grew up in Picayune, Miss., with a single father and eight siblings. He worked various roles at Charlie’s Produce in Seattle, Wash., and spent time living in Louisiana.

The candidate says he believes congresspeople should serve no more than six two-year terms in office. Boyanton says he wants to balance the country’s budget better and create an amendment that would help with those efforts. He says on his website that he is “pro-life” and opposes abortion rights.

Carl Boyanton
Photo courtesy Carl Boyanton campaign

“One day in the future I am sure abortion will be a thing of the past,” Boyanton said on his campaign website.

He says that a college degree should not cost more than a year’s salary for the job in which it was necessary to obtain the degree. The candidate says he opposes teaching critical race theory, but does not define it.

Policy Views:

  • Says members of Congress should be limited to six two-year terms
  • Opposes abortion access
  • Wants to reduce the country’s debt, cut the annual budget and enact a balanced-budged amendment
  • Proposes expanding regenerative farming
  • Opposes gun-control laws
  • Wants to build a border wall with entry ports


Social Media: Facebook | Twitter

Michael McGill, Republican 

Background: Michael McGill lives in Long Beach, Miss., and is an Army veteran. He wants to prioritize rebuilding roads, bridges and power grids in the U.S. Fighting homelessness is important for the wellbeing and livelihood of citizens, he argues.

Michael McGill
Photo courtesy Michael McGill

“We aim to address homelessness by implementing comprehensive support programs that provide housing, employment assistance, and essential resources to those in need, fostering a pathway toward stable and sustainable livelihoods,” the candidate says on his website.

McGill wants to invest in schools and raise teachers’ salaries to improve access to education. He says the U.S. should fund free mental-health clinics all Americans could use and improve health care for veterans.

Policy Views:

  • Wants to rebuild failing infrastructure, like roads, bridges and power grids
  • Supports basic health care for all
  • Supports raising teachers’ salaries
  • Wants to protect citizens’ right-to-vote and fight voter suppression
  • Hopes to fund free mental-health clinics


Social Media: Facebook | Twitter

Craig Elliot Raybon, Democrat

There is no available information online about Craig Elliot Raybon online.

Policy Views:

  • None available

Craig Elliot RaybonMississippians will vote for candidates for president, U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday, March 12. 

Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Contact your local circuit clerk or election commissioners for polling place information. Voters must bring an accepted form of voter ID to the polls. For more information, visit

Correction: An earlier version of this story said that candidate Ron Eller is a surgeon. He is not; he is a physician’s assistant who works in cardiothoracic surgery.

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