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Mississippi House and Senate Special Elections Tuesday, Oct. 13: Where the Candidates Stand

Mississippi Senate District 15 candidate Joyce Meek Yates (center) campaigns in her district. Photo courtesy Joyce Meek Yates campaign

Voters will elect new state lawmakers in special elections for two Mississippi House seats and two Mississippi Senate seats on Tuesday, Oct. 13. While special elections in Mississippi are technically non-partisan, and candidates will not have a party label next to their name, most candidates have announced which party they plan to identify with if elected. 

All eight candidates, who advanced to a runoff after a first round of voting on Sept. 22, have shared their priorities on issues with voters. If elected, each will serve the remainder of the current term, which ends in January 2024.

Mississippi Senate District 15

Includes parts of Choctaw, Montgomery, Oktibbeha and Webster counties

Republican Sen. Gary Jackson resigned on June 30 after serving 16 years in the Mississippi Senate, citing health issues. Both candidates running identify as Republicans. 

Bart Williams


Bart Williams. Courtesy Bart Williams

“I will utilize my 25+ years of experience as a business owner, coupled with my past experiences in helping pass vital Mississippi security legislation and my passion to see our communities thrive to make sure you are proud of the voice representing you and your families.”

“I have a vision of how our communities, schools, and other small businesses can prosper in District 15–even through the unusual times our country and state are facing.”

“Starting day one, I will fight for our conservative values at all cost, protect our senior citizens who protected us for so long, and find new and better ways to allow our schools to prosper.”

(Source: Facebook)

Joyce Meek Yates


Joyce Meek Yates. Courtesy Joyce Meek Yates.

“On October 13, vote for an experienced educator who will always fight for our teachers and students.”

“Education has always been a passion of mine and my family as my mother and grandmother were both educators. With 30 years of experience in education, I understand first-hand the impact teachers make in the lives of our students.”

As your senator, I will work with each community and economic development center in the district to see that there are resources available to promote industrial growth, agricultural success, and the creation of quality jobs.”

“I pledge to lead our district to flourish in family life, economics, education, health care, faith, and freedom and stand up for conservative, Republican values. My door will always be open to listen and to work with you.”

(Source: Facebook)

Mississippi Senate District 39

Includes parts of Copiah, Lawrence, Lincoln and Walthall counties

The Senate District 39 seat became open after Republican Sen. Sally Doty left in July after Gov. Tate Reeves nominated her to serve as the director of the State Public Utilities Staff. Both candidates in the special election runoff identify as Republicans.

Bill Sones

Bank of Brookhaven chairman; former board member of King’s Daughters Medical Center

Bill Sones. Photo courtesy Bill Sones

“As Senator, religious freedom is a hill that I will be willing to die upon, and I will fight against anything that threatens our freedom to worship.”

I ask that you allow me to put my healthcare experience to work for you, helping ensure that our whole district has access to the best possible medical care.

“After years of service in economic development in our district, I have seen first-hand the importance of a strong public school system in the recruiting industry. The first question often asked by a prospect is, ‘tell me about your schools.’”

“As a senator, I will always advocate for the pro-life movement.”

(Source: Facebook)

Jason Barrett


“As senator, I will be accessible to you, listen to you, help you, and provide you with real-tim

Jason Barrett. Photo courtesy Jason Barrett

e input on issues that matter to you.”

“I am dedicated to serving with fiscal responsibility and fair and transparent leadership while being a strong, trusted voice for you at the capitol.”

“I am a pro-life conservative Republican who will protect your constitutional rights and support fully funding public education.”

“Accessible, affordable health care, especially for our most vulnerable residents and veterans, is crucial. Funding for each rural hospital in Copiah, Lawrence, Lincoln and Lawrence counties is vital for them to remain operational.”

(Source: Facebook)

Mississippi House District 37

Includes parts of Clay, Lowndes, Oktibbeha counties

Republican Rep. Gary Chism resigned after serving in the Mississippi House for 20 years, citing ongoing health issues following a 2017 stroke. Both candidates running to replace him, including his cousin, David Chism, identify as Republicans.

Lynn Wright

Former superintendent of Lowndes County School District

Lynn Wright. Photo courtesy Lynn Wright

“My values and positions on issues are influenced by my Christian faith. I am:

  • Pro-life (the sanctity of life, life begins at conception)
  • Pro-family (favoring and encouraging traditional family structures and values)
  • Pro-military (maintaining the strongest military in the world, preserving our bases, and taking care of those who are serving and our Veterans)
  • Pro-education (pre-k programs, a challenging curriculum (K-12) in reading, language arts, math, science, history, and technology with cutting edge programs in college prep. and career technology) 
  • Pro-prayer anywhere (God is welcome and prayer practiced anywhere. We are “One Nation Under God”).
  • Pro-law enforcement / first responders (respect and support for these brave men and women)
  • Pro-constitution (our founding document should be upheld as it is written)
  • Pro-second amendment (the right to bear arms is guaranteed in the Constitution).
  • Pro-infrastructure (mechanism to fund roads and bridges)
  • Pro-rural broadband access (a necessity going forward)
  • Pro-conservative (Judeo-Christian values that must be maintained if we are to have a moral compass and a prosperous nation)”

(Source: Facebook)

David M. Chism

Pool service owner

David Chism. Photo courtesy David Chism

“I am, to the core, an open-hearted Republican whose philosophy lies somewhere between that of Pres. Reagan and Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.. I proudly maintain friends from other parties, many of whom have good ideas to contribute, such as increasing privatization and limiting government control. The moment they forget about our nation’s moral compass, I part ways with their ideology.” 

“I stand for liberty and for Christian values, believing that the two are not mutually exclusive. My call is one for less anarchy and more law and order.”

“Fresh air is much needed for the survival of the Republican Party. To attract younger leadership we must avoid closed-door elitism.”

“From day one, my campaign has wrestled serious topics including the pandemic, economics, social unrest, and how these issues affect rural Mississippi. I have led the charge on calling for both broadband expansion and fiscal conservatism. I have collaborated with local leaders, talked with constituents, built a platform, and made that platform publicly available for voter scrutiny.”

(Source: Facebook)

House District 66

Hinds County

Democratic House Rep. Jarvis Dortch resigned his seat on July 1 and accepted a position as the new director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Mississippi. Two candidates, including one endorsed by the Hinds County Democratic Party, De’Keither Stamps, are running to replace him.

Robert “Bob” C. Lee, Jr.

Former teacher

Bob Lee. Photo courtesy Bob Lee

Internet accessibility and cellular telephone are not luxuries, (and) the people of rural Hinds County deserve affordable access to these vital economic and education tools in today’s world.”

“I will see that grant monies to expand accessibility are spent in Byram, Learned, Raymond, Terry and Utica.” 

“Term limits will protect citizen government and no one should serve more than two terms in any office.” 

“Education is poverty prevention. We have to pay teachers more and have parents engage in children’s development.” 

“Improving infrastructure by investing in our roads and bridges has to be a priority in Southwest Hinds County. … I support making Highway 27 and Highway 18 four lanes all the way.”

“Job training and economic opportunities for all is the only way to secure our economic security.”

(Source: Facebook)

De’Keither Stamps

Former Democratic Jackson City Councilman

De’Keither Stamps. Photo courtesy De’Keither Stamps

“Expand Mississippi’s business position in the global economy (and) expand the ‘Buy Mississippi’ program”

“Pre-K for ALL, trade school for ALL, safe routes to schools (side/crosswalks to schools)”

“Fully fund maintenance of ALL state-aid roads/bridges in Hinds County”

“Increase capacity of the Hinds County hospitals, mental health services”

“Water bill assistance, expand water/sewer/gas/cell services throughout Hinds County”

(Source: Facebook)

Voting Information

Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and any Mississippian in a district with a special election who registered to vote at least 30 days before the election is eligible to vote. Voters must bring a valid photo ID to cast a ballot. For more information on voting and voter ID, go to 

Though not required, public-health experts recommend that voters wear a mask and, if available, a face shield before voting for protection during the pandemic.

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