Walter Howard Zinn, Jr., a Mississippi political operative, will seek the state's vacant 1st Congressional District seat, according to a press release from the Democratic Party.
Zinn is an attorney and lives in Pontotoc, but is well-known in local politics, having served as an aide to former Jackson mayors Harvey Johnson Jr. and Chokwe Lumumba. He describes north Mississippi as a blue-collar region that eschews race and party politics in favor of bread-and-butter economic issues.
“William Faulkner best said, 'To understand the world, you first must understand a place like Mississippi.' I have committed and dedicated myself to doing just that by engaging citizens across Mississippi and the country through my work in helping communities to elect quality leaders and have advocated for the resources and opportunities that Mississippi families deserve,” Zinn said through a press release.
Zinn told the Jackson Free Press that his political career began when now-Sen. Roger Wicker's father, Thomas Wicker, encouraged Zinn to run for Boy's State, a youth leadership program for young men. Zinn says he was on a trajectory to become a Republican until the Sept. 11 attacks. Zinn disagreed with the policies of then-President George W. Bush in response to 9/11.
In Jackson, Zinn directed the legislative agendas for Johnson and Lumumba and helped marshall the passage of the 1-percent sales tax vote in early 2014. Zinn also worked for Sen. Roger Wicker when Wicker served in the United States House of Representatives and worked on a number of local, judge and congressional races.
About 10 Republicans are running to replace late U.S. Rep. Alan Nunnelee. Among them is former Jackson Ward 1 Quentin Whitwell. Zinn is the only Democrat running.