Archive for the ‘Political’ Category

Run-Off Tuesday for voters in 7 counties

Monday, November 23rd, 2015

Voters in 7 counties head to the polls in run-off elections on Tuesday, November 24.

Rankin and Madison counties have a choice between Steve Ratcliff and Marty Miller for a new circuit court judge position. Ratcliff is a county judge in Madison; Miller is a former Assistant District Attorney for the two counties. Ratcliff finished first in Madison in the November 3 general election featuring four candidates; Miller finished first in Rankin. More details: Ratcliff, Miller in judge runoff

Amite, Pike, Franklin and Walthall counties choose who will serve in a new chancery judge position between Wayne Smith (from Amite) and Conrad Mord (from Walthall). The two finished top in the five person race on November 3. More details: Mord, Smith in runoff for chancery court post

And per the Copiah County Journal (link):

Voters in the county portion of the Hazlehurst City School District will need to plan to return to their voting precincts on Tuesday, November 24 for the runoff election for a 5-year-term position on the district’s Board of Trustees. The race pits incumbent Troy J. Stewart, Sr., who was appointed by the administration of the City of Hazlehurst when local control was returned by the state in 2014, against Kevin Brown.  Brown captured the plurality of votes in the general election on November 3, and Stewart edged into the second place to force the runoff.

Other run-offs on November 24? E-mail me and let me know:

Democrats recruit “prominent” Elvis impersonator to run for LtGov

Wednesday, February 4th, 2015

Democrats in Mississippi have been touting a big announcement: the switch of a “prominent” Republican to run as a Democrat for lieutenant governor. Sam Hall at the Clarion Ledger has the breaking news: it is former state Senator, former Madison County supervisor and current Elvis impersonator Tim Johnson.

Tim Johnson at Brents Drugs in Jackson (Photo:

Tim Johnson at Brents Drugs in Jackson (Photo:

Johnson served in the state Senate as a Republican from 1996 until 2004, prior to that he was an alderman in Madison. In 2003 he was elected to the Madison County Board of Supervisors and served two terms. He has been an Elvis impersonator since 1991.

In 2011 he ran against incumbent Central District Transportation Commissioner Dick Hall in the Republican Primary. Johnson lost with 28.7% of the vote.

While he was a supervisor, the City of Madison aldermen unanimously called for his resignation over his attempt to pass “the largest tax increase in the history of Madison County.” From WLBT:

In a rare move, City of Madison aldermen have signed a resolution asking for Madison County Supervisor Tim Johnson to resign. Johnson told WLBT News Thursday that was not going to happen.

The vote was unanimous. The resolution cites four specific concerns.

The first was Johnson’s support of attempts to put into place the largest tax hike in the county’s history back in 2008.

Madison Aldermen also blasted Johnson for resisting an audit of what they call, “questionable engineering fees, subcontracts and allegedly inflated fees for administration of those sub contracts.”

Johnson also came under scrutiny as a lobbyist for a bingo funded charity.

It looks like Johnson is well on his way to becoming the second most famous Elvis impersonator connected to political news in Mississippi.

Meanwhile, Hall reports:

Incumbent Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, a Republican, has a sizable war chest. He reported raising $1.27 million in 2014 and ending the year with $2.35 million cash on hand.

Childers Bloodhounds - that dog don’t hunt

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

Former Congressman Travis Childers has a video out with bloodhounds looking for Thad Cochran.

Pretty clever. Or at least it was in 1984 when it was created by Larry McCarthy or Roger Ailes for Mitch McConnell. It is a fairly famous ad, rated by a panel at AdAge as the #7 best political ad ever.

Here is the original ad:

The Clarion Ledger reported, “The Childers campaign said the video is a parody of an old ad produced for a Kentucky Senate race.” Parody? As you can see, it wasn’t only the concept that was lifted but some of the script and scene shots. What’s next for Travis Childers? Is he going to sit on a bench and talk to a little old lady who calls him Smathis Fielders?

The Cochran Campaign noted Senator Cochran had visited 51 Mississippi towns in August alone. If the Childers campaign can’t find him, perhaps they need to get out on the campaign trail more and they might bump into him. Granted, some of the stops were in small towns, but while Democrats have launched an initiative to remember forgotten places in rural Mississippi, folks like Cochran have always represented all Mississippians.

As Y’all Politics noted, Childers himself has a history of being evasive.

Cochran has represented Mississippi for 40 years. Democrats can claim they can’t find his record, or find him, but Mississippians know that dog don’t hunt.

Palazzo on Omnibus

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

In the previous post I mentioned the importance of the omnibus bill to the Mississippi Gulf Coast in regards to the National Flood Insurance Program and how that impacts the politics of the Mississippi US Senate race with challenger Chris McDaniel coming out in opposition to the bill.

Here is what Congressman Steven Palazzo had to say about today’s vote. (Press release in full.)

Praises provisions addressing flood insurance reforms, defense and NASA priorities

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Steven Palazzo, (MS-4) today voted in favor of a fiscal year 2014 budget bill that cuts federal spending for the fourth year in a row, for a record total of $165 billion since 2010. The bill was enacted as part of a space policy extension for which Palazzo, chairman of the House Subcommittee on Space, is an original cosponsor. Among other things, the legislation includes delays for some homeowners facing flood insurance rate increases due to changing FEMA flood map changes, protects defense budgets from further damaging defense cuts, and addresses cost-of-living adjustments for medically-retired military retirees and survivors. The bill passed by a vote of 359-67.

In debate on the House floor, Palazzo called the bill “the product of months of work on the part of our appropriators, under regular order, to give us the framework,” and characterized it as “part of our commitment as House Republicans to continue cutting spending responsibly.”

Palazzo specifically spoke on the flood insurance reform provision, stating: “This begins to address issues facing homeowners across the nation – not just in coastal areas - by including the Palazzo, Cassidy, Grimm, Richmond amendment that has received wide bipartisan support in the House and Senate.  It halts all FEMA work, through the end of this fiscal year, to implement rate increases on some of those homeowners affected by flood map changes. This provision sets the stage for broader reforms that we are working toward later this month or the next.”

The flood insurance provision was originally passed in a broad bipartisan vote of 281-146 in June 2013, as an amendment to the House Homeland Security Appropriation bill. It would prevent FEMA from working to implement Section 207 of the Biggert-Waters Act, the portion of the bill dealing with rate increases from FEMA map changes. The Senate version of the bill was approved at the committee level and included a similar delay measure. Palazzo is the Vice Chairman of the Home Protection Caucus and has worked with House leadership over the past year to bring broader bipartisan reforms to the House floor.

Palazzo also continued to praise defense provisions that were first approved in a December 2013 budget agreement to stave off another two years of damaging defense cuts from sequester. Wednesday’s budget bill reflects that agreement and also restores reductions to cost-of-living increases for those medically-retired and survivors.

Speaking on those provisions, Palazzo stated: “We maintain our commitments to our men and women in uniform by restoring damaging defense cuts. We address cost-of-living adjustments for 63,000 medically retired military personnel and survivors receiving benefits. I plan to continue working to address cost-of-living increases for all of our military retirees. We provide for a well-deserved 1% increase in troop pay. We also provide funding for homeland security priorities, such as the 7th and 8th National Security Cutters for the Coast Guard.”

All previous national security cutters have been built by Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, MS. The provision also increases funding for Department of Veterans Affairs medical services , including mental health, TBI, suicide prevention, and care for homeless vets.  It also provides for increased oversight of VA facilities while taking steps to end the disability claims backlog.

As chairman of the House Subcommittee on Space, Palazzo also spoke of NASA priorities included in the bill, as well as the extension of a “simple yet crucial policy that allows our space industry to remain globally competitive as they support and service satellites Americans rely on every day. I welcome this three year extension.  I also appreciate the consideration this package has given my NASA Reauthorization bill.”

The budget bill largely followed guidance provided in Palazzo’s NASA Reauthorization Act, which passed through the Science, Space & Technology Committee in 2013. That bill was designed to prioritize NASA’s budgets to ensure on-time development of the Space Launch System (SLS) program in support of the goal to return American astronauts back to space on American rockets launched from American soil. Currently, the U.S. does not even have the capability to do so, and is paying $70 million per seat to send American astronauts to the International Space Station on Russian rockets. The engines for the SLS program are being tested at Stennis Space Center. The bill also includes a report that questions the Administration’s costly and complex Asteroid Retrieval Mission (ARM) and includes NASA accountability measures on plans for that mission as part of continuing efforts to oversee NASA’s budgets wisely.

Today’s legislation also deals a blow to ObamaCare programs by prohibiting any new funding for the law, taking $1 billion from a slush fund known as the Prevention and Public Health Fund, and cutting $10 million from the controversial Independent Payment Advisory Board, or IPAB.

Palazzo’s full remarks can be found here.

Omnibus, Flood Insurance & MS Senate 2014

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

There are plenty of reasons for Republicans to like the omnibus spending bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives today; and plenty of reasons for Republicans not to like it.  Likewise, Democrats have items they love and items they hate in the legislation. Such is compromise and explains why all of Mississippi’s House members - Republicans Alan Nunnelee, Gregg Harper, Steven Palazzo as well as liberal Democrat Bennie Thompson - voted for it. (Although Harper noted he wasn’t thrilled about it.)

Among the positive items in the bill for Mississippi is something very important to the Mississippi Gulf Coast - a one year delay in the new premium increases under the National Flood Insurance Program.

That makes for interesting politics in Mississippi.

State Senator Chris McDaniel has come out in opposition to the bill and has urged U.S. Senator Thad Cochran, whom he is challenging in the Republican primary, to vote against it. That isn’t surprising with Washington groups like Heritage Action and Club For Growth announcing their opposition:

Heritage Action and the Club for Growth encouraged members of Congress to vote against the bill, promising to score the vote on their legislative scorecards.

Heritage Action particularly took issue with the delay of premium increases under the National Flood Insurance Program, a provision sponsored by Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-La.).

So on the politics side of this vote, at least for this provision, McDaniel has put himself in a box on the Mississippi Coast. Either Cochran votes against the bill which hardly helps McDaniel’s case for making a change, or he votes for the bill and positions himself on the side of Gulf Coast homeowners and businesses - groups that would have faced skyrocketing premiums had McDaniel’s side won the vote.

Mississippi’s three coastal counties (Harrison, Hancock, Jackson) make up about 15% of the statewide Republican Primary vote.

MS Republican leaders praise Cochran’s decision

Friday, December 6th, 2013

Mississippi Republican elected officials - so of whom were likely candidates if he did not run for re-election - are praising Senator Thad Cochran’s decision to seek reelection. Governor Phil Bryant, US Senator Roger Wicker, Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves, Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, State Auditor Stacey Pickering and Congressmen Gregg Harper, Steven Palazzo and Alan Nunnelee have all announced their support of Senator Thad Cochran. Quite a line-up and several have enjoyed Tea Party support in the past, which does not bode well for Cochran’s primary challenger, state Senator Chris McDaniel.

Governor Phil Bryant:

“Deborah and I are pleased to hear of Thad’s intention to seek reelection. Sen. Cochran is a pioneer of the Mississippi Republican Party and has been instrumental in helping with my efforts to grow the economy and provide jobs for thousands of Mississippians. After Hurricane Katrina, Thad dedicated his time and influence to our state’s recovery efforts as we rebuilt from the nation’s largest natural disaster. Our state has benefited from Sen. Cochran’s leadership for over three decades. In today’s political environment, we need this experience for Mississippi’s future.”

US Senator Roger Wicker:

“I am delighted that Senator Cochran has decided to run for another term in the U.S. Senate. The people of Mississippi need his experience and proven conservative leadership more than ever. Thad’s work on behalf of Mississippi is a testament to his selfless dedication to our state and its future. He has my full support.”

Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves:

“I am glad Senator Cochran is running for re-election and I, like thousands of Mississippians, had encouraged him to do so. He is the father of the conservative Republican takeover of Mississippi, and his wisdom will be an asset to the conservative cause as long as he serves. We as Republicans have a major fight in Washington to unwind the Obama agenda in the next six years, and we need our best minds on the job. I hope all Republicans will rally behind Thad Cochran.”

Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann:

“From the Natchez Trace to the agriculture research in the Mississippi Delta, from Katrina Recovery on the Coast to the University Medical Center, Mississippians do not need to go far to see the work Senator Cochran has accomplished for our State.  I look forward to supporting his reelection.”

State Auditor Stacey Pickering:

“Congratulations to Senator Thad Cochran in his decision to seek re-election.  I look forward to his continued service to the great state of Mississippi.  Senator Cochran has been the epitome of an honorable statesman and we are better off because of his service.”

Congressman Gregg Harper:

“Sidney and I are absolutely thrilled about Thad’s decision to seek reelection to the U.S. Senate. A true statesman, Senator Cochran has dedicated his life to serving the people of Mississippi. Thad has my family’s full support. And Mississippi needs his leadership in the U.S. Senate now more than ever.”

Congressman Alan Nunnelee:

“Thad Cochran’s decision to run for re-election is fantastic news. His steady leadership has helped guide our nation through good times and bad. He never wavers from his principles and always puts Mississippi first. As the first Republican to win statewide office since the end of Reconstruction, he paved the way for the Mississippi GOP, and we are all standing on his broad shoulders. Senator Cochran has consistently carried the conservative banner, and during these difficult times we need his strong voice more than ever.”

Congressman Steven Palazzo:

“During my time in office, I’ve had the privilege of working alongside Senator Cochran on a variety of issues critical to South Mississippi - from the RESTORE Act and supporting our shipbuilding industry to flood insurance reform.  He has lived a life of service from his time in the U.S. Navy to his leadership after Katrina and beyond. With our nation facing difficult challenges, Mississippi is fortunate for his leadership and statesmanship.  I welcome his decision to run for a seventh term.”

State Republican Party Chairman Joe Nosef has also given his thoughts:

“For years Senator Cochran has been a dedicated public servant and fine conservative leader for the Republican Party, Mississippi, and the country. We thank him for his invaluable service and congratulate him on seeking re-election. We look forward to working tirelessly to ensure Mississippi does its part to keep this seat in Republican hands and help Republicans win control of the US Senate in 2014.”

Special Elections Update: Hattiesburg Mayor, Hinds Supervisors, more

Monday, September 23rd, 2013

(UPDATED 09/26/2013; 10/02/2013)

Here is a look at some of the special elections tomorrow and later this year that Mississippi politicos are keeping an eye on. The list is not comprehensive and does not include regularly scheduled elections.

Hattiesburg Mayor

Tomorrow, state political eyes are focused on the re-do election for mayor of Hattiesburg. Three-term incumbent Mayor Johnny Dupree (D) led major challenger David Ware (I) by 37 votes in the regular election which was thrown out by a judge following a mistrial in which Ware alleged voting irregularities.  Ware leads Dupree in fundraising $130K to $60K. Over 1500 new voters have registered to vote in this election. The Secretary of State will have observers in every precinct. The U.S. Department of Justice will also send monitors. And Hattiesburg has a new election commission in place.

Dupree was the Democratic nominee for governor in 2011 and the Democratic Party is throwing everything they have at winning this election.  State Democratic Chairman Rickey Cole issued a statement saying “Let me be crystal clear:  the Democratic Party is solidly unified behind our nominee Johnny DuPree, and anyone actively opposing his re-election is not and should not be considered a loyal Democrat.” However, Ware - who was a Republican when he served on the Hattiesburg City Council - has put together a coalition of “Democrats for Ware” announced at a recent rally.

UPDATED: Dupree won by 207 votes - DuPree 7512 to Ware 7305.

Hinds County Supervisor

Hinds County District 2 and District 4 Supervisor candidates are pushing folks to the polls for their primary elections tomorrow. A primary run-off will be conducted on October 8 if no candidate receives more than 50% in their respective primaries. The general election is November 5.

In Hinds 2, Democrats in the primary include: David Archie, Dorothy Benford, Bo Brown, Alberta Ross Gibson, Leon Jones, Gus McCoy, Darrel McQuirter, Willie Earl Robinson and Ted Williams. There is no Republican Primary in Hinds 2. Independent Alphonso “Al” Hunter is an independent and will be on the November 5 ballot with the Democratic nominee.

In Hinds 4, candidates in the Democratic Primary include: James “Lap” Baker, Jerry Hopkins and Michael Maldonado. Republican Primary candidates are Tony Greer and Alvin Woods.  Independents James Ira Duke and Dan Smith are not on the ballot tomorrow and will face the Democratic and Republican nominees on November 5.


District 2 - Darrel McQuirter & Willie Earl Robinson advance to Democratic run-off on Oct 8.
District 4 - James “Lap” Baker & Jerry Hopkins placed in the top two and would have advanced to Democratic run-off on Oct 8, but Hopkins dropped out and now it will be Baker and Mike Maldonado per JFP. Tony Greer won the GOP nomination.

Alabama 1st

The special election in Alabama’s 1st Congressional District is also tomorrow. Former Mississippi Republican Party staffer Wells Griffith is one of nine candidates in the Republican Primary; two candidates are competing for the Democratic nomination in this safe GOP district. Griffith managed Congressman Steven Palazzo’s 2010 primary campaign and then served as deputy chief of staff for the Republican National Committee. Polling places him 2nd or 3rd and observers expect a run-off with the top two candidates facing each other on November 5.

Updated: Wells Griffith finished fifth in the nine person race with 11% of the vote. Bradley Byrne (34.57%) and dean Young (22.95%) advance to the run-off.

Legislative Special Elections

Twelve candidates have so far qualified for the three special legislative elections coming up in November. The seats for House 5, House 55 and House 110 all opened up after the sitting Democratic legislators won election to become mayor of their respective hometowns. This will bring to nine the total number of special elections for the legislature this year. The special elections are nonpartisan but the districts all are safe Democratic seats.

Qualifying Deadline: October 7
Special Election: November 5
Potential Run-Off: November 26

Candidates who have qualified so far:

District 5

Arthur “Clyde” Ellzey
John Gary Faulkner
Jacqueline Simon
Robert Earl Young

District 55

Chris Green
Andrew W. Harrell
Joseph E. Williams, Jr.

District 110
Jeramey Anderson
Tyres Autrey
Mitch Ellerby
Aneice R. Liddell
Anne’ A. McMillion

Oktibbeha County Prosecutor

The special election for Oktibbeha County prosecutor will be held on November 5 with candidates Haley Brown, Brace Knox and Matt Wilson, according to the Starkville Daily News.

Noxubee County

Noxubee County will have a special election for circuit clerk (if not determined in the primary) and for southern district justice court judge on November 5.

UPDATE: Freda Phillips won the Democratic Nomination with 75% of the vote (without absentees Phillips 1774, Dickson 515, Jenkins 57) and faces independent Earnest Eichelberger on November 5.

School Board Special Elections

November 5 - Board of Trustees for North Panola School District

November 5 - Board of Education for Tate County School District

November 5 - Trustees for North Bolivar and West Bolivar School Districts

Recap of recent speculation on Thad Cochran

Friday, August 9th, 2013

Everyone is wondering and writing about whether Senator Thad Cochran will run for reelection.  I think he will, the reasons I discussed in my column below. Next folks wonder who will run if he doesn’t run for reelection (I also share my thoughts on that below). But here is a recent recap of folks speculating including yesterday’s piece by Politico and a piece by Sid Salter from last November.

Mississippi Senate race 2014: Guessing game over Thad Cochran run (Politico: 08/08/13)

Cochran is ‘not like the rest of them’ (Charlie Mitchell: 08/07/13)

What will Thad Cochran do? (AP Pettus: 08/05/2013)

Who runs if Cochran doesn’t? (Brian Perry: 07/31/13)

Sen. Thad Cochran: Will he or won’t he run again (Clarion Ledger / Hall: 07/29/13)

Rumors, drinks swirl at Neshoba County Fair (Clarion Ledger / Pender 07/27/13)

Will Cochran run again? (Brian Perry: 07/24/13)

There’s a 108 percent chance Cochran would win if he runs (Sun Herald / Newson: 07/20/13)

Cochran appears able for Senate re-election bid (Sid Salter: 12/21/12)

November 5 Special Elections for MS House 5, 55, 110

Monday, July 22nd, 2013

Governor Phil Bryant has set November 5 for the special election dates for House Districts 5 (Benton, Marshall Counties), District 55 (Warren County) and District 110 (Jackson County). The representatives (all Democrats) won election to serve as mayor of their hometowns and resigned, vacating the seats.

Qualifying Deadline: October 7
Special Election: November 5
Potential Run-Off: November 26

This will bring to nine the total number of special elections for the legislature this year. For a look at the others, check out this post.

MS municipal elections to watch today

Tuesday, June 4th, 2013

Polls are open until 7:00pm tonight for Mississippi’s municipal general elections. I took a look at several mayoral races to watch in my column last week in the Madison County Journal including Hattiesburg, Southaven, Meridian, Tupelo, Ocean Springs, Oxford and Starkville.

Municipal voters will be choosing mayors, aldermen/councilmen, and in some cities police chief and other offices. Brookhaven has a liquor vote on the ballot.

For a Democratic perspective on the races, Cottonmouth also takes a look at the mayoral races in Ocean Springs and Meridian; and Starkville and Tupelo.

Mississippi Political Pulse is plugging the “Democratic Farm Team” with mayoral candidates in Greenwood, Starkville, Hattiesburg, Jackson, Meridian, Tupelo, Laurel, Ocean Springs, Moss Point, Clarksdale, Southaven, Oxford, Canton, Lucedale, Philadelphia, Byram, Columbus, Amory, Booneville and Pass Christian.

The Mississippi Republican Party sent out an e-mail today promoting candidates in Meridian, Ocean springs, Southaven, Starkville, Tupelo, Clinton, Diamondhead, Gautier, Horn Lake, New Albany, Philadelphia, Saltillo, Amory, Biloxi, Gulfport, New Hebron, Senatobia, Booneville, Clarksdale, Columbus, Crystal Springs and Poplarville.

And here is a good recap from the Columbus Dispatch.

The U.S. Department of Justice will be monitoring elections in Brookhaven, Greenwood, Isola, Meridian, Philadelphia and Ruleville. The Mississippi Secretary of State will be observing elections in Meridian and about 20 other cities.

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