Special election set to fill House seat vacated by freshman lawmaker

A special election has been set to fill a suddenly vacant seat in the Mississippi House of Representatives. 

Governor Tate Reeves has set the special election for House District 88 (Jasper & Jones County) for April 21st, and the qualifying deadline for candidates intending to run is March 2nd. 

If no candidate receives a majority of votes cast on election day, there will be a runoff election held on May 12.

Rep. Ramona Blackledge resigned just a few weeks into her first term as a state legislator due to a current statute that restricts lawmakers from drawing from their PERS retirements funds while serving in the legislature. 

Speaker of the House Philip Gunn said that the statute exists to prevent legislators from “drawing double pay from the citizens” during their time at the Capitol. 

Blackledge won her seat in the House by defeating incumbent Rep. Gary Staples in the 2019 Republican primary. She did not face a Democratic opponent in November.