CLARION LEDGER: Sen. Michael Watson plans run for secretary of state
State Sen. Michael Watson, a Republican from Pascagoula, says he’s planning to run for secretary of state in 2019.
“I am seeking the office of secretary of state because I believe my experience as a senator, attorney and small business owner has prepared me to effectively manage that office,” Watson said on Friday.
Watson’s confirmation comes after Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann reaffirmed at the Neshoba County Fair that he will not seek re-election to that post in 2019 — but will be “higher on the ballot.” Hosemann, secretary of state since 2008, is widely expected to run for lieutenant governor next year.
“I appreciate Secretary Hosemann’s service to our state and I look forward to carrying on the innovation, efficiency and momentum he’s built,” Watson said. “After talking to Mississippians around the state and receiving strong encouragement, I’m excited to announce my candidacy on the heels of (Hosemann’s) announcement at the Neshoba County fair.”
Watson first announced his plans for secretary of state on the Gallo Supertalk radio show on Friday morning. Watson, 40, serving in the state Senate since 2008, has long been considered a contender for higher office. He was strongly urged by GOP leaders to run for Congress in 2010, but didn’t because of the birth of one of his three daughters.
Watson is one of the more conservative members of the state Senate. At times he has been at odds with Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves’ Senate leadership, taking a more conservative stance on spending, borrowing or other issues. Watson also, in 2011, backed Reeves’ Republican primary opponent now-Mayor of Gulfport Billy Hewes III.
“It’s very important to have a solid conservative at the helm of an agency that deals with so many important issues for our state, like voter ID, 16th Section land and tidelands.” Watson said. “My focus will always be on making a positive difference for the people I’m asking to allow me to serve as the next secretary of state.”
Watson serves as chairman of the Senate Environmental Protection, Conservation and Water Resources Committee and serves on Finance and Judiciary B committees, among others.