- Associated Press - Tuesday, November 7, 2017

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - A Democratic mayor said Tuesday that he is considering running for Mississippi lieutenant governor, and he might cross party lines.

Vicksburg Mayor George Flaggs Jr. said he will decide in the next six months whether to seek the state’s second-highest office in 2019.

Flaggs told The Associated Press that he has not ruled out running as a Republican.

He served as a Democrat in the Mississippi House from 1988 until he was elected mayor of his hometown in 2013. He was re-elected this year.

Flaggs, 64, said he wants to line up at least $2 million in support and will commission statewide polling before deciding whether to run for lieutenant governor. He also said he would also run only if his family supports the decision.

“If I run, I’m in it to win it,” Flaggs said.

The current lieutenant governor, Republican Tate Reeves, is in his second term and can’t seek a third. He is expected to run for governor.

The lieutenant governor presides over the 52-member state Senate, appoints senators to committees, chooses committee chairmen and serves on the Joint Legislative Budget Committee. Because the seat will be open in 2019, the race is expected to attract several high-profile candidates.

Flaggs has previously allied himself with Republicans. In 2014, he was one of several African-American, Democratic officeholders who campaigned for U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran during the final weeks of a contentious Republican primary runoff. Cochran courted black voters in a successful strategy to defeat tea party-backed Republican state Sen. Chris McDaniel.

McDaniel said last month that he is considering two statewide races - either a run for U.S. Senate against Republican incumbent Roger Wicker in 2018, or a run for lieutenant governor in 2019.


Follow Emily Wagster Pettus on Twitter: http://twitter.com/EWagsterPettus .

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