Mississippi state Rep. David Baria on Wednesday officially announced he would seek the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate.

"I want to give voters a true choice," Baria said in a press release Wednesday, "and I plan to spend the campaign listening to voters and working hard to earn their trust."

Baria is the Democratic minority leader in the state House of Representatives. He will face Meridian businessman Howard Sherman in the primary on June 5. Sherman is also the husband of actress Sela Ward.

"I feel like with the race on the other side in the Republican primary, it creates an opportunity for a Democrat to possibly win it," Baria said Wednesday.

The winner of the Democratic primary would face either incumbent U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, state Sen. Chris McDaniel or Diamondhead businessman Richard Boyanton in the general election in November.

Candidates have until 5 p.m. on Thursday to qualify for the nomination.

Baria said he will make a formal announcement at 2 p.m. this Friday at the Hancock County Courthouse in Bay St. Louis.

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