- Associated Press - Monday, January 22, 2018

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - A state lawmaker and a business executive are the latest to enter the Republican primary for an open congressional seat in Mississippi.

Sally Doty is an attorney from Brookhaven and has served in the state Senate since 2012. Morgan Dunn is managing director of Vestra LLC, a health care consulting firm in Magee. The two women filed qualifying papers Monday to run in central Mississippi’s 3rd District.

Five Republicans are now in the primary.

Republican incumbent Gregg Harper is not running this year, after a decade in office.

The three other Republicans running are Michael Guest of Brandon, who is a district attorney in Madison and Rankin counties; Whit Hughes of Madison, who is past deputy director of Mississippi Development Authority, the state agency that seeks to promote job creation, and most recently worked as foundation president and chief development officer for Baptist Health Systems; and Perry Parker of Seminary, who has three decades managing investment portfolios.

During a brief news conference at the state GOP headquarters, Doty said she wants to help President Donald Trump with his agenda by working to reduce government regulations. She also said she wants to “cut government handouts.”

“As a state senator, small business owner and mom, I know how difficult it is to balance a budget,” Doty said. “But Washington can’t continue to play games with our seniors, our military and especially our children. We need real, conservative leaders who can pass a balanced budget, reduce the deficit and put America first.”

Dunn could not immediately be reached Monday.

Mississippi and Vermont are the only states that have never elected a woman to the U.S. House or Senate, according to the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University.

No Democrat has yet joined the 3rd District race.

Candidates’ filing deadline is March 1 and party primaries are June 5. The general election is Nov. 5.

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

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

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