Senate Election

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 17, 2011

Second Panolian exits election for state senate seat

By Billy Davis

Mona Pittman withdrew Monday from a closely watched race for a state senate seat.

Pittman told The Panolian she withdrew after daughter Emma, 15, was accepted into two summer-long dance programs based in New York City.

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“We’re leaving Saturday,” she said.

The Panolian learned of Pittman’s decision when Circuit Clerk Joe Reid received ballots Tuesday for the August 2 primary. Pittman’s name was not listed, he said.  

Travis Brock, executive director of the Mississippi Democratic Party, confirmed that Pittman had pulled out of the three-way primary race.

Pittman’s departure leaves two Democrats, Steve Hale and Michael Cathey, to compete in the primary. The winner will face Republican Vann Branch in November.

Hale and Cathey are from Tate County. Branch is from Pope.

The District 10 senate race had included a second Panola Countian, Dennis Dye of Sardis, who has also announced he was withdrawing from the race.

Pittman, a Batesville attorney, ran for the seat in 2007 and narrowly lost to incumbent Nolan Mettetal. That race became heated and moved from the ballot box to circuit court.

The District 10 seat represents a sought-after prize for state Democrats, since the state senate has a majority of Republicans.

Mettetal switched from Democrat to Republican after the 2007 election.   

“I need to be mommy to my girls,” Pittman said. “I feel like I’m making the right decision.”

Pittman serves as secretary of the Mississippi Democratic Party.