Hattiesburg ex-mayor DuPree running for secretary of state

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A former mayor who was the Democratic nominee for Mississippi governor in 2011 is now running for secretary of state.

Johnny DuPree told the Clarion Ledger that election reform is his top issue. DuPree, 65, was Hattiesburg mayor from 2001 to 2017. He has also been a school board member, a real estate agent and owner of a trucking company and a consulting firm.

DuPree was the first African-American to win a major party nomination for Mississippi governor, and he lost the 2011 election to Republican Phil Bryant.

DuPree is the only Democrat who has announced for secretary of state this year. The two Republicans who have announced are southern district Public Service Commissioner Sam Britton of Laurel and state Sen. Michael Watson of Pascagoula.

The third-term secretary of state, Republican Delbert Hosemann, is running for lieutenant governor.

March 1 is the deadline for candidates to qualify to run for statewide, regional, legislative and county offices in Mississippi. Party primaries are in August, and the general election is in November.

DuPree said he was "just about content with private life," but decided to run for secretary of state after he taught a public policy course at the University of Southern Mississippi.

"I talked to and interacted with a lot of young people," he said. "It totally surprised me how much work we still need to do with voting, elections — the underpinnings of our democracy."

The secretary of state is Mississippi's top elections officer. The office also manages publicly owned land and oversees the registration of businesses.

DuPree said he has experience with 16th Section land, business and corporation regulations and filings and other issues the secretary of state's office handles.

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Information from: The Clarion Ledger, http://www.clarionledger.com