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Senate candidates to face off Tuesday

By Jebb Johnston jjohnston@dailycorinthian.com

Voters will select a Democrat to oppose Republican incumbent Roger Wicker for the U.S. Senate in Tuesday's primary runoff.

The candidates are David Baria of Waveland, a member of the Mississippi House of Representatives, and Howard Sherman of Meridian, a businessman.

Given that it is a primary runoff on only the Democratic ticket, election officials do expect the potential for some confusion at the polls.

About 77 percent of those who voted in the June 5 primary cast ballots on the Republican ticket, and those voters are not eligible to participate in the Democratic primary runoff, per state law.

About 370 people cast ballots in the Democratic primary, and they are eligible to vote in the runoff. Also, the many registered voters who did not vote at all on June 5 are eligible to cast a ballot in this runoff, noted Deputy Circuit Clerk Crystal Starling.

Turnout is expected to be light. The two candidates have had little visibility, and the June 5 election attracted only 1,600 voters.

Among a field of six Democratic candidates, the two had a neck-and-neck race on June 5, with Sherman finishing 247 votes ahead in the statewide tally -- 27,106 to Baria's 26,859. Alcorn County voters favored Baria in a vote of 182 to 106.

An attorney and former contractor, Baria represents District 122 on the Mississippi coast and is the House minority leader. His campaign material focuses on issues of consumer protection, the economy, education, health care, roads and bridges, and government transparency.

Sherman talks about generating jobs, improving schools, supporting small towns and rural communities, getting Mississippi's fair share of funding and working with Mississippi children. Sherman and his wife, the actress Sela Ward, a native of Meridian, are the founders of Hope Village for Children, which offers support for abused, neglected and abandoned children.

The 17 county precincts will open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.