Elections

Mississippi Rep. Michael Guest Survives Scare, Defeats Primary Challenge In Run-Off

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Michael Ginsberg Congressional Reporter
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Republican Mississippi Rep. Michael Guest defeated primary challenger and former Naval fighter pilot Michael Cassidy in a run-off  Tuesday, three weeks after an initial race saw both candidates clear 47%.

With more than 72% of votes counted, Guest received nearly 66% support, while Cassidy garnered roughly 35%. During the initial primary, Cassidy received 47.5% support while Guest received 46.9%. (RELATED: Rep. Nancy Mace Beats Back Trump-Endorsed Primary Challenger)

Several elections analysts called the race shortly after 9 p.m. Eastern time.

Cassidy heavily criticized Guest for his vote in favor of a bipartisan commission to investigate the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, as well as his support for Ukraine military aid. Guest was one of 35 Republicans to vote for the Jan. 6 bipartisan commission. Out of that group, nine have retired or resigned and two more, West Virginia Rep. David McKinley and South Carolina Rep. Tom Rice, lost their primaries.

Following the initial race, Cassidy removed several planks from his website’s “On The Issues” section, including support for Medicare for All. While his initial website showed that Cassidy supported five years of maternity leave with government benefits, an updated version shows that he supports “creat[ing] a plan to make it easier for businesses to offer maternity leave.” Cassidy also revised his support for a government-funded stipend for parents of young children to an expanded child tax credit.

“Based on helpful feedback from many conservatives in the 3rd District, I’ve improved my America Dream policies by focusing on lowering the tax burden for working families with children,” Cassidy said in a statement on his website explaining the changes.

Local and national Republicans spent heavily in favor of Guest and against Cassidy during the runoff. The Congressional Leadership Fund spent $450,000 against Cassidy, calling him a “lying RINO” who supports a “socialist agenda,” Roll Call reported. Fellow Republican Mississippi Rep. Trent Kelly fundraised for Guest and Rep. Steven Palazzo, who also faced a run-off challenger Tuesday, calling receptions for the two “emergency” fundraisers.

Guest will face off against first-time candidate Shuwaski Young in November. Mississippi’s 3rd District leans 28 points towards the GOP, according to FiveThirtyEight.