We should finally have a fairly firm view of the statewide 2015 elections this Friday at 5 p.m., the deadline for candidates to file their qualifying papers with their respective parties and for independent candidates to file with the Secretary of State.

The past two weeks have shored up many of the races. Republican Governor Phil Bryant is running for reelection, as expected. Madison trial lawyer Vicki Slater, a Democrat, has qualified against him.

Republican Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves dodged one major potential primary opponent when Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann qualified to seek reelection this week. Hosemann posted more than a million cash-on-hand in his latest reports and considered a run for lieutenant governor but ultimately said, "I've never been a career politician, and my decisions are not politically motivated...There is still work to be done as Secretary of State, and I hope the citizens of Mississippi will allow me to complete the work we have started in the next four years." Hosemann currently is unopposed.

Two Democrats have announced their intentions to run for lieutenant governor: former Madison supervisor and Elvis impersonator Tim Johnson, and Greenwood rapper Jelanie Barr. DeMiktric Biggs at the Democratic-leaning blog MS Political Pulse questioned Barr's motives, "Opining about a municipal mandatory curfew is light-years away from presiding over the state senate. This hearkens back to the Alvin Greene of South Carolina situation of 2010. It's my hope that he's in this on his own accord and there's not something more sinister afoot. He could have had his pick of statewide offices to qualify for likely without opposition." Technically, Barr is currently unopposed for the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor. As of Monday, more than two weeks after he announced, Johnson had yet to formally qualify for the office.

Reeves and Bryant both reported cash-on-hand of well over $2 million each and are favored to win reelection.

Three incumbent Republican statewide officials have drawn primary challenges.

Madison Mayor Mary Hawkins Butler qualified against Auditor Stacey Pickering who is seeking a third term this year. Democrat Charles E. Graham of Hinds County has also filed for Auditor.

Attorney David McRae is challenging first-term Treasurer Lynn Fitch in her bid for reelection.

And seeking his third-term as Insurance Commissioner, Mike Chaney has drawn a primary challenge from Clinton Body Shop owner John Mosley. Mosley, with attorney John Arthur Eaves, Jr. (the 2007 Democratic nominee for governor), is suing a number of insurance companies including State Farm Insurance over issues involving manufacturer versus after-market parts for repairs. Mosley has said resolving that issue is a motivation of his campaign. Mosley ran for mayor of Clinton in 2005 as an independent and lost with 38 percent to incumbent Republican Rosemary Aultman.

Republican Cindy Hyde-Smith, Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce, so far faces no opposition to reelection to a second term.

Attorney General Jim Hood, the lone state-wide elected Democrat, filed for reelection to a fourth term last week, ending widespread speculation over his future political plans. No one has yet to file a challenge to him in the primary or general election.

As of Monday, both the Central and Southern District Public Service Commissioner seats have Republican Primaries. Brent Bailey and Mitch Tyner, both of Madison, are running in the Central District and Sam Britton of Jones County and state Senator Tony Smith of Pearl River have qualified in the Southern District. On the Democratic side, state Representative Cecil Brown and Bruce Burton are running in the Central District. Incumbent Democrat Brandon Presley in the Northern District has not had opposition file.

Democrat Robert Amos had qualified for Central District PSC but has switched to run for Central District Transportation Commissioner. Chad Toney is running as a Democrat in the Southern District. All three incumbent Republican Commissioners have qualified for reelection without primary opposition: Dick Hall in the Central, Tom King in the Southern and Mike Tagert in the Northern District. But Tagert is considering a run for congress in the First District special election to replace the late Alan Nunnelee. If he runs, and were he to withdraw for reelection, this would become an open seat.

Fourteen Democrats, nine Republicans and one independent have filed to run for district attorney seats across the state.

For seats in the House of Representatives, 92 Democrats have qualified creating 19 primaries; and 105 Republicans have filed making 23 primaries.

In the state Senate, 34 Democrats have qualified with 6 contested primaries; and 47 Republicans have filed with 9 of the races contested primaries.

In all these races, a lot can happen before Friday's deadline.

Tuesday, March 3 at 5 p.m. is the deadline for parties to submit their lists to the Secretary of State, at which time, we'll know if any minor parties (Reform, Libertarian, Green, Constitution) have candidates.


Brian Perry is a partner with Capstone Public Affairs, LLC. Reach him at reasonablyright@brianperry.ms or @CapstonePerry on Twitter.