- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 9, 2015

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - State election officials Wednesday removed the Reform Party candidate for Mississippi insurance commissioner from the Nov. 3 ballot, saying it was impossible to know whether he had lived in the state long enough to run.

The decision leaves Republican Mike Chaney unopposed for a third term.

The Reform Party candidate for governor, Shawn O’Hara, told members of the state Board of Election Commissioners that he could prove Johnny McLeod of Hattiesburg meets the five-year state residency requirement to run for the insurance post.

But the three election commissioners - Republican Gov. Phil Bryant, Democratic Attorney General Jim Hood and Republican Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann - said public records showed different middle initials and dates of birth for McLeod. They said that made it impossible to prove his length of residency.

O’Hara, who has run unsuccessfully for numerous offices over the past 20 years, said he filled out a voter registration form that had an incorrect middle initial and birthdate for McLeod, and McLeod later filed a corrected form.

A representative of Hosemann’s office also said Forrest County election records showed that McLeod last voted Dec. 31, 1899. O’Hara said that’s a default date local officials use on records of registered voters who are shown as inactive because they infrequently vote.

“Unfortunately, that’s not true. That’s not standard procedure,” replied Kimberly P. Turner, assistant secretary of state for elections.

McLeod did not attend the meeting Wednesday in Jackson, and no phone number or email address is listed for him on state campaign finance reports. It was not immediately clear whether McLeod will appeal the ruling, but finance reports show he has only spent $200 on his campaign this year, and that was for a filing fee.

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