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Shows: Concerned about an even split

By By Steve Swogetinsky/The Meridian Star
Nov. 4, 2001
U.S. Rep. Ronnie Shows, D-Miss., said name recognition will be a big factor in winning the new central congressional district in next year's election.
For now, Shows knows that he has an election coming up next November, most likely against U.S. Rep. Chip Pickering, a Republican who represents Mississippi's 3rd Congressional District. The battle lines are being drawn at the Capitol in Jackson, where the Legislature struggles to reach a consensus on how to separate the state into four districts.
Mississippi lost one of its five seats in the U.S. House of Representatives after the 2000 census.
The state Legislature went into special session Thursday to address the problem. The two houses passed different plans. A conference committee has been meeting this weekend, attempting to find a compromise.
Three plans are under consideration. The Tuck Plan was passed by the Senate Thursday, while the House favored the Tornado Plan. On Friday, the House offered the "Moody Plan," which conferees are considering as a compromise.
The Legislature recessed Friday, and was to reconvene Monday at 10 a.m.
Interestingly, both Shows and Pickering are native Jones Countians but all plans place Jones County in the coast district.
Shows, a former Southern District Highway commissioner, makes his home in Bassfield, which is in Jeff Davis County. For now, all he can do is wait.
Shows predicted both campaigns will spend a lot of time in counties that will be new to them.
The black voting age percentage of the new central district is an issue in the Legislature. House Speaker Tim Ford said he wants that percentage to be 36 percent, at least. As of Friday, none of the three plans under consideration accomplished this goal.
Shows does not disagree that race might be a factor in his favor as a Democrat but points out that where those votes are located is also important.
Steve Swogetinsky is regional editor of The Meridian Star. Call him at 693-1551, ext. 3217, or e-mail him at