The qualifying period for this year's county and state-wide elections ended at 5 p.m. on Friday, and one of the major surprises was that this year's ballot won't include David Baria's name for the first time in more than a decade.
"It has been one of the greatest honors in my life, and truly a privilege to serve the people of Hancock County in the Mississippi Legislature for the last 12 years," Baria, a Bay St. Louis resident who serves as state representative for District 122, said in a press release on Friday afternoon. "During that time, my wife Marcie and my three children, Merritt, Bess and Max, have graciously allowed me to pursue my political aspirations in Jackson and around our state," including a run last year for U.S. senate. "In the last decade ,I have all too often been away from home when my family needed me. Now is the time for me to return home and to be present for and supportive of Marcie and the kids. For that reason, I will not run for reelection to the Mississippi House of Representatives."
Baria said in a text message on Friday that he will throw his support behind former Bay St. Louis City Councilwoman Wendy McDonald, apparently the only Democratic candidate for Baria's seat. McDonald qualified for the race on Friday.
McDonald will face Republican candidate Brent Anderson, who currently serves as the public works and building department director for the city of Waveland.
On the Hancock County election front, the vast majority of qualifying candidates registered as Republicans. Four people qualified as Independents. Only two qualified as Democrats.
A few long-serving public officials who qualified for reelection will face no opposition at all, either in the Republican primary or from Democratic challengers, including Hancock County Chancery Clerk Tim Kellar; Tax Assessor/Collector Jimmie Ladner; Justice Court Judge (Place 1) Desmond W. Hoda and Constable (Place 1) Terry Necaise. District 4 Supervisor Scotty Adam will have no challengers in the primary, but will face Democratic candidate Thaddeus Collier in the November General Election.
As expected, long-time Justice Court Judge Tommy Carver -- who resigned his post effective Thursday -- qualified to challenge Sheriff Ricky Adam in the August Republican Primary.
Five candidates qualified on the Republican ticket to replace long-time Hancock County Chancery Clerk Karen Ruhr, who announced last year she would not seek reelection. They are Kendra "KK" Ladner Necaise; Kevin Ladner; Ray Ladner, Jr.; Johnny Rutherford; and Tammy Garber.
In the Supervisor District 1 race, Theresa M. Ryan and Kurt Necaise have qualified as Republican candidates. The winner of that match-up will proceed to the general election to face incumbent Supervisor David Yarborough, who qualified as an Independent; and Jefferson J. "Buster" Verdin, IV, who qualified as a Democrat.
Incumbent District 2 Supervisor Greg Shaw will square off against former Supervisor Kenny Hoda in the Republican primary. The winner will face Independent candidate Henry Ward in November.
n the Supervisor District 3 race, Kodie Koenenn, Fred Sullivan, Carl L. Necaise and Danny N. Johnson all qualified as Republicans. Rather than seeking reelection, incumbent District 3 Supervisor Blaine LaFontaine is challenging District 46 state Sen. Philip Moran.
In District 5, incumbent Supervisor Darrin "Bo" Ladner will face challenger Diana Ladner in the Republican primary.
In the Justice Court Judge Place 2 race, incumbent James A. "Jay" Lagasse, III, will face three challengers in the Republican primary, Jimmy Osbourn, Aaron "Ace" LeBleu and Brian Necaise. The winner of the primary will face Independent candidate Teresa Ehrlich in November.
In the Justice Court Judge Place 3 race, several people have announced their candidacies to replace Carver, including Republicans Roland Flowers, Jr., Eric C. Moran, Roger Joseph Estopinal, Jr., Judith Redshaw and Adam Landrum; Libertarian candidate Lynn Smith. Smith will only be on the ballot during the November general election.
Incumbent Coroner Jim Faulk will face challengers Christopher Crittenden and Jeff Hair in the Republican primary.
The Constable races are as follows:
• Constable Place 2 -- Chad Dorn, incumbent Ray Seal, Jr., and Oliver W. Lee, Sr., qualified as Republicans.
• Constable Place 3 -- Albert Biehl, Paul Taylor and David J. Perks qualified as Republicans. The primary winner will face Democratic candidate Steven L. Saucier and Independent candidate Guy "Tater" Graham in November.
Other races on the ballot will include:
• Incumbent MS Dist. 93 Rep. Timmy Ladner, Republican, who is unopposed.
• Incumbent MS Dist. 95 Rep. Patricia Willis, who will face Diamondhead City Councilwoman Nancy Depreo, Jay McKnight and Robert Dambrino in the Republican primary.
• MS Dist. 19 Rep. Carolyn Crawford, Republican, is unopposed.
The primary election is scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 6; and any runoffs would be held on Tuesday, Aug. 27. General Election Day 2019 is scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 5, with any needed runoff elections scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 26.
For more information, contact Hancock County Circuit Clerk Karen Ruhr's office at 228-467-5265.
* Editor’s note: There may be additional candidates for state representative and state senator -- candidates for those offices qualify through the state parties, which did not have complete information avialable by press time Friday.