GOP Rep. Palazzo forced into runoff in Mississippi

Republican Rep. Steve Palazzo is headed into a runoff in Mississippi’s 4th District after he and a large field of candidates failed to clinch the 50 percent threshold in the GOP primary battle.

Palazzo led the pack while Jackson County Sheriff Mike Ezell and Clay Wagner, a retired banker, are racing for second place to qualify for the runoff, according to the Associated Press.

The runoff election will be held on June 28 between Palazzo and whoever finishes second.

Palazzo was fending off six other challengers for the Republican nomination, who leapt into the race after the lawmaker stirred up controversy in Washington last year.

An ethics watchdog group found last year there was “substantial” evidence the Mississippi congressman had misused campaign funds to improve a riverfront home before a sale and unethically used his office to help his brother reenlist in the Navy.

Palazzo is a military veteran who first won election to represent Mississippi’s 4th District in 2010.