Judge says move race to top of ballot, Barbour, Hosemann appeal - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Jackson 09/12/08

Judge says move race to top of ballot, Barbour, Hosemann appeal

By Jon Kalahar
jkalahar@wlbt.net

Hinds County Circuit Court Judge Tomie Green says by law the race between Roger Wicker and Ronnie Musgrove should be placed toward the top of November's ballot.

We spoke with the Wicker, Musgrove camps to get their reaction and what could happen next.

Judge Tomie Green's decision may be just another turn in the long and winding road to the November fourth general election.

In her ruling, she believes this statute lays out the order in which all elections should follow.

And even though the special election must be clearly distinguished, Green says simply labeling it "special election is enough, not bumping it all the way down the ballot."

Neither Ronnie Musgrove nor Roger Wicker's campaign believe this will affect the outcome of the election.

"Senator Wicker is not worried about the ballot issue, he's worried about jobs for Mississippi and lowering gas prices," said Ryan Annison, Wicker's campaign spokesman.

"We just want them to follow the law and not make such a big issue out of this, but simply follow the law," said Ronnie Musgrove, candidate for U.S. Senate.

Secretary of State says he and the Governor are appealing judge Green's ruling to the state supreme court. But because absentee ballots must be distributed and mailed to our military overseas, he says time is short.

"We're hopeful that the supreme court will address this in an expedited manner so we can finally find some  final relief to the status of this issue," said Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann.

Hosemann and the Pike County Circuit Clerk confirmed that the plaintiff in this matter, Pike County Election Commissioner, Trudy Berger was elected by voters through a special election during a general election. The exact same circumstances she's fighting against in the Wicker, Musgrove race.

"I just know the fact is hers was a special election and it was at the end of the ballot for which she's complained bitterly here," said Hosemann.

The Secretary of State says he hopes the state supreme court will issue its ruling by Monday or Tuesday of next week.

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