Politics

Eller wins Republican runoff in Mississippi 2nd District, will face Democratic Rep. Thompson

JACKSON, Miss. — (AP) — Ron Eller won a Republican primary runoff Tuesday in Mississippi’s 2nd Congressional District and will face longtime Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson in the Nov. 5 general election.

Eller, who is a military veteran and physician assistant, defeated Andrew Scott Smith, who has worked in farming and commercial real estate. They had advanced to the Republican runoff as the top candidates in a three-person primary March 12.

Thompson has represented the majority-Black district since winning a special election in 1993, and President Joe Biden won the district by 27 percentage points in 2020.

Thompson is the ranking Democrat on the House Homeland Security Committee and was unopposed for his party’s nomination in the district this year. Thompson said he wants to decrease prescription drug costs, invest in historically Black colleges and universities, reduce student loan debt and build the middle class “by making sure the wealthy pay their fair share.”

Eller, who ran unsuccessfully for the 2nd District Republican nomination in 2022, has said he supports construction of a U.S.-Mexico border wall and expansion of domestic energy production.

After winning the runoff Tuesday, Eller told The Associated Press that he believes all Americans want good places to raise their families, with strong schools and clean air and water.

“It's time to put that party nonsense behind us,” Eller said. “We need to work as a people and a nation together.”

The district stretches along the Mississippi River on the western side of the state, through the flatlands of the Delta and into the capital of Jackson.

Voters in the 2nd District supported Democrat Joe Biden over Republican Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election, 63% to 36%.

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