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South Mississippi rep gets multiple GOP primary challengers

January 10, 2020 GMT
In this Jan. 24, 2018 photo, Biloxi Councilman Robert L. Deming poses along Howard Avenue in Biloxi, Miss. Deming is filing papers Thursday, Jan. 9, 2020, to challenge U.S. Rep. Steven Palazzo in south Mississippi's 4th Congressional District. (Amanda McCoy/The Sun Herald via AP)/The Sun Herald via AP)
In this Jan. 24, 2018 photo, Biloxi Councilman Robert L. Deming poses along Howard Avenue in Biloxi, Miss. Deming is filing papers Thursday, Jan. 9, 2020, to challenge U.S. Rep. Steven Palazzo in south Mississippi's 4th Congressional District. (Amanda McCoy/The Sun Herald via AP)/The Sun Herald via AP)

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Republican U.S. Rep. Steven Palazzo of Mississippi will face at least three challengers in the party primary as he seeks reelection this year.

Friday is the deadline for candidates to file qualifying papers to run for one U.S. Senate seat and four U.S. House seats in Mississippi. Party primaries are March 10.

Palazzo filed qualifying papers Wednesday in south Mississippi’s 4th Congressional District.

The Mississippi Republican Party said late Thursday that three other candidates filed this week in the 4th District. They are C arl Boyanton, Robert Deming and Samuel Hickman.

Hickman has worked for Republican U.S. Rep. Trent Kelly, who represents north Mississippi’s 1st District.

Deming is an attorney and Biloxi City Council member.

Boyanton has run a produce business in south Mississippi.

Palazzo was a state House member when he unseated Democratic U.S. Rep. Gene Taylor in 2010. Palazzo, 49, is a military veteran and often praises President Donald Trump. In a statement Wednesday, Palazzo said he is grateful to represent people in south Mississippi.

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“I would be honored to once again earn their vote and continue our fight to protect those conservative values we hold dear,” Palazzo said. “My priorities remain strengthening the military, bringing more jobs to our state and securing our borders. We are on the right track with President Trump in office.”

Deming told The Associated Press in an interview Wednesday that Palazzo is too passive and is not helping Trump. He also said Palazzo has supported increasing the federal budget.

“We just don’t have anyone who is leading on any issues,” Deming said of Palazzo. “We have no voice there.”

Deming, 43, was first elected to the Biloxi council in 2013.

Palazzo had nearly $257,000 in his campaign fund at the end of September, according to his most recent finance report filed with the Federal Election Committee.

Deming said he is putting $50,000 into his own campaign. He said he has not started raising money but has received pledges from potential donors.

Hickman has about $5,200 in his campaign fund. Boyanton lists no money in his fund.