Representative Steven Palazzo, a Mississippi Republican facing an ethics investigation, will head to a runoff election after failing to win 50 percent of votes in his party’s primary contest on Tuesday, according to The Associated Press.
In 2021, the Office of Congressional Ethics released a report that said Mr. Palazzo had used campaign funds to pay himself and his wife at the time nearly $200,000. He reportedly used the cash to make improvements on a riverside property that he was hoping to sell. The House Ethics Committee is still investigating the allegations described in the report. Mr. Palazzo’s office has denied the allegations and has suggested the investigation is politically motivated.
Ethical inquiries were not the congressman’s only concern in the primary contest. He skipped out on both debates for primary candidates. In one instance, his campaign reportedly told debate organizers that Mr. Palazzo had to attend national security meetings. Later that evening, Mr. Palazzo posted a picture on social media of himself at dinner with his son.
Mr. Palazzo has represented the state’s Fourth Congressional District, including the Mississippi Gulf Coast, since 2011, after he unseated a 10-term Democrat.
The Associated Press had not yet called the second-place finisher in the race. Mr. Palazzo’s primary opponents include Mike Ezell, a longtime police officer who has served as sheriff in Jackson County since 2014, and Clay Wagner, a businessman.