Democrat challenger for Mississippi secretary of state withdraws due to health concerns

 August 29, 2023

The Democrat challenger to incumbent Mississippi Republican secretary of state Michael Watson is withdrawing from the race because of health concerns, according to Fox News.

Shuwaski Young had secured the Democrat nomination to run against Watson in the primary on August 8, but announced that he won't be able to run.

"Recently, I suffered a hypertensive crisis which placed an immediate and continuous challenge on my ability to campaign for the Office of Secretary of State," Young said in a news release. "My intent was to press forward knowing full-well the risk being placed on my health due to a rigorous campaign schedule. I can no longer take this risk."

Young worked in Homeland Security under Barack Obama. He also worked in the secretary of state's office under both Democrat Eric Clark and Republican Delbert Hosemann.

Young advocated voting reforms

Young decided to run for secretary of state after he failed to be elected to Mississippi’s 3rd District congressional seat in 2022. His platform included expanding early voting and other reforms that would make voting easier (and encourage voter fraud).

He also trained local election commissioners and worked with public lands while in the secretary of state's office.

Watson has been secretary of state since 2019 and previously served three terms in the state senate. He has worked, among other priorities, at making elections more secure by strengthening proof of citizenship requirements and paper trails for electronic voting machines.

He is now running unopposed for re-election unless Democrats take steps to remove Young's name from the ballot and get a new name added.

Moving forward

Health reasons are considered a legitimate non-political reason to remove Young from the ballot, if he submits an affidavit to do so with the state.

Democrats can then petition to add someone else's name to the ballot. No names have been put forward as of yet.

With the election just a few months away, they are running out of time to find a replacement and campaign in the generally Republican-dominated state.

Watson wished his opponent well in a post on X, formerly Twitter. "I appreciate Shuwaski Young’s willingness to serve and will pray for a speedy recovery," Watson said.

Other state officials also wished Young well in bipartisan fashion.

Republican incumbent Governor Tate Reeves said he was "sorry to learn of the recent health challenges of" Young, and that he and First Lady Elee Reeves "are praying for a full recovery for Mr. Young and wish him well."

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