Seven candidates for Mississippi governor participated in a debate that was televised in most parts of the state, including Meridian on WTOK.
Democrats Johnny DuPree and Bill Luckett, and Republicans James Broadwater, Phil Bryant, Dave Dennis, Hudson Holliday and Ron Williams answered questions posed by a media panel.
Two other Democrats, William Bond Compton and Guy Dale Shaw, were not invited. Compton, of Meridian, says it's unfair that he was excluded.
Organizers say there was only room for seven candidates on stage.
Bryant, who has raised the most money, received verbal jabs from some of his opponents.
Dennis criticized Bryant's attempt to lure the Miss America pageant to Mississippi, a move Dennis said would be a financial benefit to one of Bryant's top campaign contributors.
Luckett called Bryant a "career politician" and said the lieutenant governor has not helped pull Mississippi off the bottom of national health and education rankings.
Bryant says he has helped balance the state budget and create
Party primaries are Aug. 2 and runoffs, if needed, are Aug. 23. The general election is Nov. 8.