JACKSON, Mississippi (AP) — Republican Delbert Hosemann filed papers Monday to run for a third term as Mississippi secretary of state.
He said he has unfinished business in the job, including pushing legislators to make Mississippi join other Deep South states in holding a March 1 presidential primary, starting in 2016.
Supporters of the “SEC primary,” named after the sports conference, say it would force candidates to spend time and money in states that are sometimes ignored as candidates concentrate on early primary or caucus states such as New Hampshire and Iowa.
“I think the next president of the United States ought to stand in the doorsteps of Mississippi, here, answer our questions,” Hosemann said Monday at the state GOP headquarters, where he filed papers to run for re-election.
Hosemann, 67, of Jackson, was an attorney in private practice before he was elected secretary of state in 2007. He is the first person to enter the race this year, and he has just over $1 million in his campaign fund. Candidates’ qualifying deadline is Friday, and it’s not clear whether Democrats will challenge him.
As the state’s top elections officer, Hosemann has been in charge of implementing a voter identification law that took effect last year. People are required to show a driver’s license or other government-issued photo ID at the polls. Those who don’t have one of the required types of ID can get one free at a circuit clerk’s office, and Hosemann said 3,000 free ID cards have been issued.
The secretary of state’s office also manages publicly owned 16th Section land and tidelands.
Hosemann said Monday that revenue from 16th Section land — acreage that is set aside to generate revenues for public schools in about two-thirds of the state — has gone from $53 million to $89 million since he has been in office. People pay to lease the land, and timber is cut and sold to make money.
“I would like to say that was some magical thing that we did. But, not really,” Hosemann said. “We just run it like you would your own property.”