Republicans: PSC hopeful doesn't meet 5-year residency rule

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The Mississippi Republican Party says a man who filed to run for Public Service Commission won't be on the party primary ballot because he doesn't meet residency qualifications.

Party spokeswoman Nicole Webb says the state Executive Committee voted Thursday to not certify Perry Parker of Sumrall for the ballot.

Parker was one of three Republicans who had qualified to run for the southern district post on the Public Service Commission. Remaining on the Aug. 6 GOP ballot for the utility regulator are Pascagoula Mayor Dane Maxwell and Diamondhead businessman Kevin Schulz. Current Southern District Commissioner Sam Britton, a Laurel Republican, is running for state treasurer instead of seeking a second term.

Maxwell had challenged whether Parker had lived in Seminary for the required five years, citing election records showing Parker voted elsewhere and property records showing he hadn't claimed a homestead exemption on his property for the entire time.

Parker had said he was previously registered to vote in Connecticut and California, but has long owned property in Covington County and has always considered it home.

"This decision doesn't define citizenship of our state, but it does define poor leadership by party officials," he told WLOX-TV . "I'll continue to be involved in efforts to grow our state as I remain committed to my home and neighbors."

Residency wasn't a problem during Parker's previous unsuccessful bid for the Republican nomination to the 3rd Congressional District. Federal law only requires that a senator or representative live in the state they're representing on election day.

Maxwell said he filed the challenge only because he feared a Democrat would try to have Parker disqualified if he won the nomination.

Former Ocean Springs Mayor Connie Moran and Sugar Stallings of Biloxi are seeking the Democratic nomination for the post.

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