Perennial Candidate Hunt Dead At 76

Perennial Democratic Party political hopeful James W. "Bootie'' Hunt died Thursday after an extended illness. He was 76.

Hunt, a retired factory worker, broke into the political scene in 1994, running for the Democratic nomination to the U.S. Senate. He finished sixth. Incumbent Republican Sen. Trent Lott won re-election in that race.

What followed was a series of losing, underfunded political campaigns by Hunt. He continued to pursue political office even up to his death.

A Call to Hunt's home in Starkville, where he lived with his wife, Marlene, went unanswered. Hunt died of heart failure.

Funeral services are 2 p.m. Sunday at Salem Independent Methodist Church in Ackerman. Burial will be in Salem Cemetery.

"He was a good man and just as honest as the day is long,'' said Mississippi Democratic Party chairman Rickey Cole of Ovett. "His heart was in the right place.''

Hunt was the party's nominee in 1996 against Republican Sen. Thad Cochran. He got 27 percent of the vote.

Survivors include his wife and son, three brothers; and a sister.