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franklin county times

A lot riding' on Pickering, Shows debate at fair

By By William F. West / community editor
Aug. 1, 2002
The winner of a debate today at the Neshoba County Fair between Chip Pickering and Ronnie Shows could boil down to who can pull the most people into Founders Square Pavilion.
The two incumbents are fighting for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in Mississippi's newly created 3rd District.
They are scheduled to debate today at 2:10 p.m.
Pickering is a Republican, Shows a Democrat. The two men find themselves in a face-off for the $150,000-a-year position because Mississippi lost a congressional seat after the last census.
Pickering, 38, is from Laurel. He was a legislative aide to U.S. Sen. Trent Lott, R-Miss., before being elected to Congress in 1996. He replaced Democrat G.V. "Sonny" Montgomery of Meridian, who retired after 30 years on Capitol Hill.
Pickering represented the old 3rd District, which stretched from Clay County and Lowndes County into parts of Madison and Wayne counties.
Shows, 55, is from Bassfield. He was circuit clerk in Jefferson Davis County, a state senator and state Southern District transportation commissioner before being elected to Congress in 1998.
Shows represented the old 4th District, which included Jackson, much of southeastern Hinds County and all of Copiah County.
Pickering and Shows are presently campaigning for the right to represent a new third district.
The district stretches from a small slice of Webster County and all of Oktibbeha County through the eastern Mississippi counties but still includes Meridian and Lauderdale County, suburban Rankin County and most of the southwestern part of the state.
Finding the weaknesses
It almost goes without saying that, on the campaign trail, a political candidate is going to try to find the other candidate's weaknesses and point them out.
Shows and some commentators in the Mississippi press argue that Pickering can be readily linked to the troubled Mississippi-based telecommunications giant WorldCom.
Each candidate has his strengths.
The candidates: Current 3rd District U.S. Rep. Chip Pickering, a Republican from Laurel; 4th District U.S. Rep. Ronnie Shows, a Democrat from Bassfield; Jim Giles, an independent from Pearl; Carroll Grantham, a Reform Party candidate from Hattiesburg; and Brad McDonald, a Libertarian Party candidate also from Hattiesburg, are running in the newly redrawn 3rd District.
The election: Voters will choose one of the candidates in a Nov. 5 special election. Members of Congress are paid $150,000 a year.
The district: Extends from part of Webster County and all of Oktibbeha County through the eastern Mississippi counties but still includes Meridian and Lauderdale County and much of southwestern Mississippi.