High Court Sides with Barbour on Special Election - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Jackson 02/06/08

High Court Sides with Barbour on Special Election

by Kandiss Crone
kandiss@wlbt.net

In a 7-2 ruling, the Mississippi Supreme Court sided with Governor Haley Barbour, allowing for a special election for Trent Lott's former U.S. Senate seat to take place in November.

Attorney General Jim Hood lost the suit, which challenged the November 4th date set by Barbour. Hood said he's disappointed with the court's ruling, but does not plan to appeal.

At issue was the wording of the law. Mississippi law states "after receiving official notice of a vacancy in the U.S. Senate, the governor has 10 days to announce an election to fill the seat. The election must be held within 90 days, unless the vacancy occurs during a year when there shall be a general state or congressional election."

Hood argued the election should be held 90 days after Lott's resignation. The court found "given the timing of Senator Lott's resignation...the law is ambiguous when applied to the specific facts of this case," thus ruling in Barbour's favor.

In a statement, Governor Barbour said: "As I said from the beginning, having this important election on November 4th 2008 is in the best interest of the state, the voters, and all of the people."

Two weeks after Lott resigned, Barbour appointed Roger Wicker to fill his seat. Wicker believes the November election date will save taxpayers money and allow for the armed forces personnel to vote by absentee ballot.

Wicker will face off with former Governor Ronnie Musgrove and former U.S. Representative Ronnie Shows.

Musgrove expressed his disappointment that the governor "seeks to anoint the next Mississippi senator, instead of letting the people vote as quickly as possible."

Shows could not be reached for comment.

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