Breaking: Court of Appeals ruling could affect District 13

By BRYAN DAVIS PUBLISHER,

This article has been updated to clarify that State Sen. Eugene Clark is not running against Lynn Fitch for State Treasurer. Fitch is currently running for Attorney General.

 

District 13, which includes portions of Sunflower County, could be affected by a recent Federal Court of Appeals ruling that will force the state to redraw District 22.

District 22 currently encompasses portions of Bolivar, Humphreys, Madison, Sharkey, Washington and Yazoo Counties.

The district, which the courts have determined is gerrymandered, is represented by treasurer candidate Eugene Clark, who has held the seat since 2003.

Clark is vying for the State Treasurer post in the upcoming Aug. 6 primary. Current State Treasurer Lynn Fitch is running for Attorney General.

The original lawsuit was filed in June, and the plaintiffs are Joseph Thomas (Yazoo County), Vernon Ayers (Washington County) and Melvin Lawson (Bolivar County), according to Mississippi Today.

The defendants are listed as Gov. Phil Bryant, Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann and Attorney General Jim Hood, the report said.

The courts have ruled that the district’s current state is in violation of the Voting Rights Act.

In February, U.S. District Court Judge Carlton Reeves ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, ordering the state to redraw the district.

The defendants had appealed to the Fifth Circuit to stay the ruling, but that was denied today.

Mississippi Today describes the district  as “irregularly-shaped, with a wide center and two narrow arms, one that reaches north past Cleveland and another that reaches into Madison County, ending at the Barnett Reservoir. The distance between the two points is approximately 102 miles. Mississippi, which has 52 senate districts, is approximately 320 miles top to bottom.”

The plaintiffs have offered up two suggestions for redrawing the district that Reeves previously determined comply with the Voting Rights Act, Mississippi Today said.

One of those suggestions would impact Districts 22, 23 and 13.

District 13 is currently represented by Willie Simmons, who has held the seat for years, but he has thrown his name into the hat for Transportation Commissioner Central District.

Tony Anderson (Cleveland), Carl Brinkley (Cleveland), Mark S. Buckner Sr. (Cleveland), Charles Modley (Indianola) and Sarita Simmons (Willie Simmons daughter; Cleveland) qualified to run for the seat in March.

There is a chance District 13 may not be affected, as the second alternate plan by the plaintiffs only involves Districts 22 and 23.

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