School Closings

Newcomers unseat 4 DeSoto County Republican State House members

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Dana Criswell calls himself a regular guy.

"I am currently a pilot with FedEx," he said.

Criswell will likely be the next Mississippi state representative for District Six after Tuesday's primary election.

"They feel like the regular guy can make decisions that are better than the career politicians," Criswell told WREG.

Criswell is one of four challengers who unseated state House incumbents from DeSoto County. The challengers were all backed by an education advocacy group called Empower Mississippi.

"We support all kinds of proposals like charter schools, education scholarship accounts and a number of others that put parents in the driver's seat and gives them control over their child's education," Empower Mississippi President Grant Callen said.

The group graded lawmakers on how they vote on these issues. Callen said DeSoto County representatives ranked toward the bottom.

"We made it very clear that we would love the opportunity to support challengers to run against any of those low-grade incumbents on our score card," Callen told WREG.

Empower Mississippi supported 18 candidates from across the state by dishing out nearly $300,000. The challengers in DeSoto County pulled in more than $100,000 in support for their campaigns from the organization.

The challengers who won in the DeSoto County primary race all support education choice and were against things like Common Core.

"I ran, not because I want and think this is a fun job," Criswell said. "I ran because I didn't think the incumbent was doing an adequate job."

WREG reached out to all incumbents in this race, but they either refused to comment on the record or never returned our phone calls.

Two of the challengers have democratic opponents they will face in November.