Rep. Omeria Scott endorses Howard Sherman over Baria in Senate runoff

Published 11:04 am Monday, June 11, 2018

By Mississippi Today

JACKSON — Rep. Omeria Scott, D-Laurel, who earned 20,000 votes in Tuesday’s Democratic Senate primary but did not make the runoff, endorsed candidate Howard Sherman on Friday.

Scott, a longtime state representative who came in third place behind Sherman and state House minority leader David Baria, D-Bay St. Louis, made the announcement in her hometown Friday afternoon. She called for her supporters to cast votes for Sherman in the June 26 runoff.

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“This is a time for unity,” Scott said in a release from the Sherman campaign. “I urge every one of my supporters and every Democrat in our state to come together and get behind Howard Sherman. His ideas for our state are bold and powerful, and I know he’s the right leader to defeat Roger Wicker and join with Mike Espy to bring change to Washington.”

“I’m energized and ready to fight alongside Howard and Sela as we approach the run-off and then on to November,” Scott’s statement continued. “This is a critical moment in our state’s history. I know how much Howard Sherman has done for our state and our community. And I know what kind of positive change he’ll bring as our Senator.”

Scott won 20 of the state’s 82 counties outright on Tuesday, including her home county of Jones. In the counties that Scott won, Sherman’s average percent of total vote was 22 percent, while Baria’s was 20 percent.

The endorsement could likely be a coup for Sherman, an entrepreneur who is married to actress Sela Ward. Precinct data shows that Sherman did well among African American voters on Tuesday, but Scott’s endorsement might carry some weight in the black community.

Baria, an attorney, previously earned the public endorsements of nearly every member of the Legislative Black Caucus. When asked for comment before Tuesday’s primary, no member of the black caucus spoke publicly in favor of Scott.

“I want to thank Omeria Scott for her continuing leadership and public service,” Sherman said in a statement. “I enjoyed campaigning alongside her in the primary. She is a positive force, and she is always focused on the issues and doing what’s best for the people.”

Baria described serving with Scott in the state House of Representatives a privilege.

“I respect her decision. We hope she encourages Howard Sherman to accept our invitation to participate in a televised/live stream debate so that the citizens of Mississippi can see the candidates, hear their views and make an informed decision,” Baria said in a statement.

The winner of the June 26 primary will face incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker in November.