Mississippi political race involves Chapter 7 accusations

Politics in Mississippi are rarely boring. From the state level to local races, there are frequently colorful debates and interesting personalities to watch. Nowadays, it's not unexpected for some races to become so heated that accusations fly back and forth, many of them covered extensively by the media. In a current race going on in Canton, one candidate has accused two others of having filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

This is a slightly unusual allegation in a political race, because many Americans have experienced filing for bankruptcy. It no longer corresponds with a harsh stigma as, thanks to the recession, people from all walks of life, including political candidates, have found themselves struggling with debt. Still, in the race for chancery clerk in Madison County, one candidate is claiming the issue has relevance. Since the chancery clerk manages funds, the candidate claims, someone who has declared bankruptcy is not fit for the job.

According to documents from a southern Mississippi bankruptcy court, two of the other candidates in the race have indeed filed for bankruptcy in the past. Reportedly, both of them filed for Chapter 7. One filed in 2006, while the other's filing was back in 1998. While both candidates apparently declined to go on camera and discuss the matter, they did release statements to local media. One candidate argued that the other hopeful, the accuser, was exploiting a medical issue from years past. The other candidate who filed for bankruptcy said the accuser was mudslinging for his own political gain.

While most Mississippians aren't running for office, the fact is there are plenty of misconceptions about bankruptcy. One is that if a person declares bankruptcy, they must not know how to manage money well. In many situations, declaring Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a smart, appropriate financial move. Chapter 7 allows filers to get a handle on debts that they otherwise could not realistically repay in a timely manner. While many debts can be canceled in Chapter 7, filers can't simply eliminate every single debt they have, and they must often complete a credit counseling with an approved agency.

Source: WJTV, "Candidates running for chancery clerk filed for bankruptcy," Malary Pullen, May 19, 2014

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