JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Secretary of State Michael Watson (R-Miss.) announced the beginning of a new campaign finance reporting system for Mississippi political candidates.

Campaign finance issued became a central topic of this year’s primary election season with questions raised over State Senator Chris McDaniel’s (R-Miss.) bid for lieutenant governor.

Watson said the new system will be similar to the easily accessible Federal Election Commission (FEC) Campaign Finance Search Portal.

“The current system was awful, outdated. And so, we need to do a better job of that, and that’s what we’re doing. So, the RFP will be out sometime, I hope within the next few months. What we’re going to implement through the RFP process and hopefully build out later is basically what you’re familiar with with FEC. You can go on and search by name, you can pull everything up. It’s very searchable, very easy. My hope is that the legislature will work with us on that,” he said.

Watson gave no timeline on when the new system will be put in place.

Campaign finance reform is central to the platforms of both Watson and Democratic challenger Ty Pinkins.

“We are actually in the 21st century, 2023, and we have politicians and candidates submitting their reports, sometimes in written form, in handwriting, in PDF documents,” stated Pinkins.

The Secretary of State’s Office deals not only with election matters, but they also oversee business regulations and enforcement.

Watson pledged to continue to cut red tape for Mississippi businesses. Pinkins said he wants to better utilize Mississippi’s natural resources.

“If you’re one of those individuals who’s a cosmetologist, or a barber or an architect, you basically got to deal with 600 regulations to get your business off the ground for business to make money for your family. That’s expensive, and it’s time consuming,” said Watson.

“We have to cultivate the right relationship with business, businesses and industry leaders to take advantage of the resources we have. And that’s why I’m running,” said Pinkins.

The General Election will be held on November 7.