Political parties to hold caucus

Published 7:00 am Thursday, January 30, 2020

Every four years the Republican and Democratic parties elect their county executive committee members.

The local committees play a role in informing voters about their party’s candidates and are responsible for certifying the primary elections for their party.

Election commissioners run the primary election for both parties, but if anything goes wrong in those elections, the local executive committee is responsible for deciding if the election should be redone, said chair of the Pearl River County Democratic Executive Committee Agnes Dalton.

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The Democratic county executive committee recruits and vets candidates, provides infrastructure for candidates and backs them up with volunteers, said Dalton.

“If we see somebody in the community that we think would do a good job, we ask them if they’d like to run,” said Dalton.

The majority of the time, enough candidates want to run that the committee does not have to recruit them, said Dalton. Executive committee members cannot endorse candidates in the primary election, Dalton said.

The Pearl River County Republican executive committee holds meetings where Republican candidates can speak so that local voters can learn about their platforms. That committee also works for Republican candidates in the general election, said Pearl River County Republican Executive Committee Chairman Mike Tyson.

“Our whole purpose is to get Republicans elected,” said Tyson.

The caucuses also give community members an opportunity to get involved in the democratic process, said Dalton.

“This is an opportunity for anyone who is upset with the way things are going, whether it is in Mississippi or at the national level, to come and have a voice,” said Dalton.

At the caucuses, the Democrats entertain changes to their political platform, enter those ideas into the minutes and forward them to the national committee, said Dalton.

Being involved with the local executive committee and participating in caucuses can make voters more informed, Tyson said, who only began participating in the caucuses himself four years ago.

“I would urge them to get involved in the process,” Tyson said.

Committee members build relationships with local politicians and state representatives who can update them on what is going on in the Legislature, said Tyson.

The caucuses are also the first step in the process to determine who will serve as delegates for the parties at their state and national conventions.

The Democratic Party will hold its precinct caucuses at 10 a.m. on Feb. 15, where delegates and alternates will be elected for the Democratic county convention set for March 14 at 10 a.m. At the county convention, the county’s executive committee is elected and delegates and alternates for the Congressional and state conventions are elected.

The Republican Party will hold its precinct caucuses on April 25 at 10 a.m. Its county convention will be that same day at 3 p.m. in the county courthouse. Like in the Democratic Party, the precinct caucuses are used to elect delegates for the county convention, and the county convention members vote on the county’s Republican executive committee.

To participate in a precinct caucus, interested parties can go to their polling location on the date of the caucus of their choosing.