Mississippi 2019

Goal

Break supermajority

Chamber Makeup

State Senate

19 Democrats

33 Republicans

State House

45 Democrats

74 Republicans

The Opportunity

This year, a Democratic candidate has a strong chance to win the Governor’s Mansion. But the Mississippi legislature has long been ignored or written off. And if that continues, the legislature will be able to kneecap progress, whoever is Governor.

Future Now Fund is trying to turn out some of the most disenfranchised voters in this country, something that hasn’t been done effectively for state elections.

After decades of people saying Mississippi’s too hard or not worth it, it’s time to see how far a little support for some promising candidates can go. While what’s realistic this year is the beginning, not the ultimate goal, both in terms of electoral outcomes and improving lives, this is where change begins.

The Stakes

For far too long, Mississippi's radical right-wing political leadership has slashed education spending, gutted healthcare (resulting in the closure of many rural hospitals), and reduced jobs programs to cut taxes for out-of-state companies.

  • Refused to expand Medicaid—even though four rural hospitals have shuttered in the last year alone and half of the state’s remaining rural hospitals remain at high risk of closing.

  • Slashed education spending—despite the fact that only 20 percent of 8th graders in Mississippi are able to meet basic reading standards.

  • Gutted basic protections that help keep people in their homes.

  • Produced skyrocketing incarceration rates, costing the state billions of dollars and imposing incredible human costs.

2019 Political Landscape

  • In 2019, the entire State Senate and House are up for election, along with the governor.

  • Attorney General Jim Hood stands a good chance of winning the gubernatorial election, but he could face Republican supermajorities in the State House and State Senate if Democrats don’t run effective campaigns.

  • Unfortunately, the political infrastructure in the state is challenging, so some districts are likely to be left on the table.

  • Future Now Fund has identified the most important districts based on past results and the candidates who have qualified for each seat.

  • The path is hard no matter what. But turning out low propensity voters is the key to unlock a path towards gaining incremental, but important, electoral gains over time.

  • Mike Espy made this part of his strategy in his 2018 run for U.S. Senate, and he significantly outperformed both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, which helps provide a roadmap.

Meet the candidates

  • Tiffany Kilpatrick

    Tiffany Kilpatrick

    HD-12

    The daughter of a public school teacher and a Mississippi public school student herself from kindergarten through law school, Tiffany understands the critical role education plays in creating opportunity and ensuring every kid gets the chance they need.

  • Hester Jackson McCray

    Hester Jackson McCray

    HD-40

    Hester is a mother of two, a grandmother of seven, and has been a nurse for over 33 years. She has seen firsthand the need to expand healthcare in the state and provide schools with the resources they need so more kids can succeed.

  •  Shanda Yates

    Shanda Yates

    HD-64

    A lawyer, small business owner, and mother, Shanda knows from her own experience the challenges facing Mississippi families and the business community alike. A proud public school graduate, Shanda was the first in her family to obtain a college degree.

  • Aisha Sanders

    Aisha Sanders

    HD-96

    As the daughter of a local judge and granddaughter of a prominent political activist, Aisha Sanders knows what civic leadership is all about. Aisha was inspired to go to law school after a voter ID law in her state effectively disenfranchised too many.

  • Brandon Rue

    Brandon Rue

    HD-102

    Brandon is a youth minister, student, and activist who believes that the best way to make change is to get involved. He has registered to vote over 1,500 of his fellow college classmates. If elected, he will be the youngest legislator in state history.

  • Felix Gines

    Felix Gines

    HD-115

    Biloxi Councilman Felix Gines served in the Air National Guard for 30 years and comes from a family of 11. He is running to help rebuild a community that is struggling to recover from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina more than a decade later.

  • Kegan Coleman

    Kegan Coleman

    SD-8

    Kegan is an attorney who has spent his career representing everyday hard-working families and small businesses. He grew up working in his family’s convenience store and earned his B.A. and J.D. at the University of Mississippi in Oxford.

  •  Kevin Frye

    Kevin Frye

    SD-9

    As the District 1 Supervisor of Lafayette County, Kevin has championed early childhood education. He was recognized as one of Mississippi Business Journal’s Top 50 Under 40.

  •  Andre DeBerry

    Andre DeBerry

    SD-10

    A lifelong public servant and ordained Baptist minister, Andre was Holly Springs mayor, where he fought for broadband access, hospital expansion, and affordable housing. He says that being educated in segregated schools led him to public service.

  •  Joseph Thomas

    Joseph Thomas

    SD-22

    When a districting plan denied black voters the right to choose their elected officials, Joseph, a former state senator and retired banker, fought that plan in federal court and won. Now he’s running to represent the newly-drawn district.

  •  Will Godfrey

    Will Godfrey

    SD-37

    Will was born and raised in the district. He has spent the past 8 years working for state elected leaders and traveling to nearly every county to better understand how to best make a difference in the lives of Mississippians.