Mike Ezell, a local sheriff, defeated Rep. Steven Palazzo (R-Miss.) in the June 28 GOP primary runoff for Mississippi’s 4th Congressional District, marking the end of a race that intensified after a June 7 primary election split the vote among multiple candidates.
With 83.9 percent of the ballots counted at 10:04 p.m., Ezell had 53.1 percent of the vote and was declared the winner by The Associated Press.
After Palazzo and Ezell finished first and second in the June 7 primary, every other candidate endorsed Ezell.
The contest has been riven by dueling accusations of corruption and mismanagement.
Ezell, the sheriff of Jackson County, highlighted an ongoing investigation of Palazzo’s alleged ethical lapses, including the personal use of money from his campaign to improve a riverfront property he expected to sell.
The Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) reported in 2021 that there is “substantial reason to believe” those and similar accusations. The House Committee on Ethics has not yet followed up by forming a subcommittee on the case.
“That’s a cloud that’s been hanging over his head for over a year,” Ezell told The Epoch Times in a June 21 interview.
Palazzo maintained he would be vindicated by a fuller investigation by the ethics committee, saying he would welcome such a move.
In a June 21 interview with The Epoch Times, he called it “a false political attack by my opponents.”
Under Ezell’s leadership, meanwhile, the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department has not been free of controversy.
In 2021, for example, inmates sued Jackson County Jail over alleged civil rights violations, citing lights in their cells that were on twenty-four hours a day.
The Epoch Times has reached out to Ezell for comment.
Some Veterans Wary of Palazzo
Another flash point has been Palazzo’s availability to local veterans. Palazzo is himself a