Archive for May, 2013


Legislative Restoration of Rights in Post-Barbour Pardons Session

Thursday, May 30th, 2013

Last year I wondered if there was any impact of the controversy resulting from Governor Haley Barbour’s pardons on legislative action to return suffrage to those convicted of a felony crime: Did Barbour pardons impact legislative suffrage bills?

Looking back over the legislative sessions during the Barbour Administration I noted a decline in such legislation but no substantial impact in 2012 following the pardons.  The year following his pardons had nearly the same number of suffrage restoration bills and legislators sponsoring them as the year before his pardons, except there were no successfully passed and approved suffrage bills post-pardons and six pre-pardons (but there were also no successfully passed and approved suffrage bills in 2009, two years before his pardons).

I won’t restate the entire post from last year, you can go back and look at it, but here is are the updated numbers and chart with 2013’s legislative session included:

Year - Bills - Legislators - Approved
2004 - 48 - 37 - 35
2005 - 24 - 20 - 13
2006 - 16 - 12 - 07
2007 - 28 - 20 - 10
2008 - 27 - 21 - 08
2009 - 20 - 17 - 00
2010 - 08 - 07 - 07
2011 - 10 - 09 - 06
2012 - 10 - 08 - 00
2013 - 08 - 07 - 01

Here are details on the bills introduced in 2013:

HB1601 by Lester Carpenter (R) - James Lee Dunn (Alcorn County) Receiving Stolen Property - Died in Committee

HB1602 by Bill Pigott (R) - Joseph Herring (Lamar County) Embezzlement - Died in Committee

HB1603 by Nolan Mettetal (R) - Randall Lamar Bolton (Panola County) Grand Larceny - Died in Committee

HB1608 by Bill Pigott (R) - Ashley Harvey (Walthall County) Receiving Stolen Property - Died in Committee

HB1609 by Randall Patterson (D) - Michael Timothy Wood, Sr. (Jackson County) Grand Larceny - Died in Committee

HB1703 by Clara Burnett (D) - Jessie Mae Dotson (Tunica County) Uttering Forgery - Passed and Approved without Governor’s Signature* (House Vote - Senate Vote)

HB1704 by Preston Sullivan (D) - Charles L. Bone (Chickasaw County) Theft - Died in Committee

HB1724 by Steve Holland (D) - Terry Lee Bates (Lee County) Theft - Died in Committee

I’m not critical of these legislators.  While I don’t know the circumstances of each case, I believe in redemption and believe the opportunity for mercy and grace exists in the public sector through the due process of law in all three branches of our government including legislative restoration of rights and executive pardons. This information is a somewhat dispassionate look at the facts.

I would note that three of the loudest Democratic critics of Governor Barbour’s pardons - Bobby Moak, David Baria, Earle Banks - all voted for restoration of rights in the one bill which was approved this past session. To be fair, “uttering forgery” and “murder” are not the same, but the criticisms against Barbour’s pardons were not directed only at the worst crimes. Barbour was criticized in general for his actions which included pardons for “uttering forgery” - the crime behind the restoration of rights bill that Moak, Baria and Banks voted for last session.

*You may remember from civics class that the when a bill is passed by the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, the President of the United States may sign it, veto it, or do nothing and the act dies (pocket veto). In Mississippi, the final option is reversed. A governor may sign it, veto it, or do nothing and the act passes. That is what happened in this case. It became approved without Governor Phil Bryant’s signature.


House 95 special - Willis self funds with $25K; Bevis gets political insiders

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013

In the special election to fill the House 95 vacancy created by the death of Representative Jessica Upshaw (R), two candidates stand out in their campaign finance reports: Patricia Willis who dropped $25,000 into the campaign, and Sherri Carr Bevis who has received contributions from some Jackson political insiders.

Willis self-contributed $25,000 and received another $20,000 from her mother Patsyearl Hinrichs. Nearly $41,000 of that went to The Prime Time Agency who has listed among their past political clients: Biloxi Mayor A.J. Holloway, PSC Commissioner Leonard Bentz, Congressman Ronnie Shows and Mississippi Supreme Court Justices Ed Pittman and Oliver Diaz.

Bevis lists contributions from the Mississippi Manufacturers Association PAC ($500), Bully Bloc PAC ($2000), Representative Casey Eure (R-116) campaign ($250) as well as Eure’s Atlas Real Estate ($250), Neel-Schaffer engineering ($500), Hancock Bank CEO John Hairston ($500) and Governor Fordice Chief of Staff Andy Taggart ($250). Expenditures were for signs, printing and newspaper advertisements.

The campaign finance reports cover fundraising and spending through May 18 and were filed May 21. The special election is on Tuesday, May 28. If no candidate receives more than 50% of the vote, the top two candidates will appear in a run-off on June 18.

All four candidates are from Diamondhead and the district includes parts of Harrison and Hancock Counties.

Patricia Willis - $47,400 Raised; $46,365.96 Spent; $1,034.04 Cash On Hand (Report)

Sherri Carr Bevis - $13,785 Raised; $6,633.78 Spent; $7,945.84 Cash On Hand (Report)

Tommy Ballard - $1,797 Raised; $1,797 Spent; $0 Cash On Hand (Report)

Grant Bower - $0 Raised; $3,383.41 Spent; $0 Cash On Hand (Report)


Thoughts on the Run-Off: Jackson, Canton, Laurel, Southaven, Brandon and more

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013

The final selection of party nominees was conducted yesterday in the primary run-off election. For some municipalities, the election is over without independents or other party challengers. But the general election is June 4 and there are several cities Republicans and Democrats look to have real races - a few to watch: Meridian, Tupelo, Starkville, Ocean Springs. Add Oxford, Southaven and Clarksdale as cities with strong independents running.

Here are a few thoughts on selected run-offs:

JACKSON

Chokwe Lumumba was chosen as the Democratic nominee in a city in which there will be no significant independent challengers (an no Republican) in the general election. He will be the next mayor of Jackson.

Other Winners:

Bennie Thompson - Lumumba was supported by Delta Congressman Bennie Thompson who remains the kingmaker in Mississippi Democratic politics. I’ve only seen one race (Canton, see below) this year in which his endorsed candidate lost against other Democrats.

Republican Partisanship - The Democrat mayor of the largest city in Mississippi is a left-wing radical. It is difficult to imagine a candidate who more starkly defines leftism for Mississippians than Lumumba. Republicans used to just have Bennie Thompson; now they have Chokwe, too. He provides all the fears on a local level that President Barack Obama provides on the national level, without the inspiration. Speaking of inspiration, Jonathan Lee (who lost to Lumumba) inspired the young professionals of Jackson - moderates both black and white - and Jackson Republicans and business interests piled on to support Lee. He was the kind of candidate with bipartisan appeal. He was the kind of new generation Democrat who, after a successful term or two as mayor, could have been a real challenge to Republican dominance on a statewide level. Of course, I’m not writing Lee’s political obituary yet, but the GOP almost had the positive version of an Obama on their hands: a black Democrat who appeals to white voters and was supported by business and Republicans.

Other Losers:

Racial Reconciliation - Lumumba is racially divisive; Lee was racially uniting. Republicans can use Lumumba’s ideology as a bogey man, but in the process will face charges of playing the race card.

Democrat Moderates - See above, for all the reasons Republicans will benefit, Democrats seeking to redefine their party and expand their base and electorate lost.

Undetermined:

Jackson - Jackson has serious debt, crime, infrastructure, unemployment and education challenges. Lumumba can blame the previous administration all he wants (it worked for Obama) but he owns these issues now and if he can restrict his ideology to radical symbolism while maintaining a pragmatic management of the city, he can be successful. But if he seeks to raise taxes, reduce law enforcement, ignore the streets and reject partnerships to improve water & sewer issues, scare away investment and inject schools with social engineering programs, then not only will Jackson lose, but he might face another stronger challenge in four years from Lee or some other candidate of hope and change.

SOUTHAVEN

A new movement of leadership continues to emerge in DeSoto County, this time with the election of insurance agent Darren Musselwhite as the Republican nominee for mayor of Southaven. Musselwhite defeated Southaven Police Lieutenant Jerald Wheeler with nearly 70% of the vote - a landslide. Musselwhite comes from the private sector to challenge the long term and scandal saddled incumbent Greg Davis (formerly Republican, now Independent) in the general election.

BRANDON

There was no contest for mayor in Brandon. Only one candidate was running and the previous mayor resigned early with the council appointing the candidate to get a head start on governing. But there was a run-off in the Republican Primary for alderman-at-large between the long time incumbent James Morris and Mississippi Tea Party Chairman Roy Nicholson. The Tea Party has been an active force statewide in shaping campaign issues and encouraging candidates who share their ideology. Many of the group’s members volunteered for Nicholson. But with another proof that “all politics is local” Morris won. Morris had the backing of top Republicans in Rankin County and won with 54% of the vote - a margin of about 130 votes.

CANTON

Incumbent Mayor William Truly, endorsed by and supported by Congressman Bennie Thompson, lost to challenger Arnel Bolden, former president of the Canton Chamber of Commerce. This was a huge win by the business community in Canton, or according to Thompson, Canton voters falling for Republican tricks.

LAUREL

Representative Omeria Scott is the second of five Democratic legislators running to lose a mayoral bid this cycle (details here). Councilman Johnny Magee won the Democratic nomination for mayor of Laurel with 55% of the vote.

OTHER MAYORAL NOMINEES OF NOTE

Democratic Primary Run-Off

Amory - Brad Blalock
Baldwin - Michael James (i)
Booneville - Derrick Blythe
Shannon - Ronnie Hallmark (i)

Republican Primary Run-Off
Olive Branch - Scott Phillips

TISHOMINGO COUNTY

The results of the alcohol votes in Tishomingo County are still to close to call. With 67 affidavit ballots to be counted today, the results are, according to the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal:

A vote ‘FOR’ is a vote to legalize alcoholic liquors in Tishomingo County. A vote ‘AGAINST’ is a vote to remain dry.

FOR 3232

AGAINST 3213

A vote ‘FOR’ is a vote to legalize beer and light wine in Tishomingo County. A vote ‘AGAINST’ is a vote to remain dry.

FOR 3219

AGAINST 3175

OTHER RESULTS AVAILABLE:
WLBT (Jackson Metro, Philadelphia, Southwest MS)
Daily Journal (Northeast MS)
Sun Herald (Coast)


Jackson Mayor - Election Day campaign pics

Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

I saw Jonathan and Davetta Lee campaigning shortly before lunch at Five Points in Jackson.  Lee supporters were there as well as some Chokwe Lumumba supporters.


Thompson aims at “fishy” Republican “tricks” in Jackson mayor’s race

Friday, May 17th, 2013

My column* this week examined Congressman Bennie Thompson’s involvement in Democrat versus Democrat races this year in municipal and special elections (read it here). Particularly, I looked at his radio commercial (audio here) for Canton Mayor William Truly.

From the column:

Thompson says in the radio spot, “This is Congressman Bennie Thompson endorsing mayor William Truly for re-election as mayor of Canton, Mississippi. I’ve worked with Mayor Truly to bring change to Canton, Mississippi. Now the Republicans have hand-picked candidates in every race. They can’t win out-right, so they picked people who look like US to run. Don’t fall for the Republican tricks. On May 7, vote to reelect Mayor William Truly: mayor of Canton, Mississippi.”

Thompson’s emphasis on the word “us” begs the question of whom is he speaking. Perhaps he means Republicans who look like Democrats (odd because people don’t change how they look by marking a party affiliation on their qualifying papers). He can’t mean actual Republicans because while there are Republicans running for mayor and one alderman seat, there are not Republicans in every race. There are a number of independents running, perhaps he means them. Whoever he means, they apparently look like Thompson in some way.

Civil right lawyer Robert McDuff, who has contributed to Thompson’s campaign in the past and has served as attorney for Democrats in redistricting issues, wrote a law review article on the importance of the Voting Rights Act on Mississippi and discussed the term “us.” In it he writes, “The phrase ‘one of us’ implies there is a ‘them.’…The use of this in black-white campaigns-suggesting that ‘us’ is one race and ‘them’ is the other-is particularly unfortunate since it exploits racial divisions. Regrettably, this is not a thing of the past…Racial campaign appeals still surface in elections in the state….the white candidate in a black-white election adopted the campaign slogan, ‘one of us,’ which had been characterized as a racist appeal by a federal court when it was used by a white candidate in a black-white congressional race over twenty years earlier…The three-judge federal district court, in its subsequent 1984 decision, pointed out that this was an obvious racial appeal to the white majority: ‘Evidence of racial campaign tactics used during the 1982 election in the Second District supports the conclusion that Mississippi voters are urged to cast their ballots according to race. This inducement to racially polarized voting operated to further diminish the already unrealistic chance for blacks to be elected in majority white voting population districts.’”

Now Thompson has a cut a spot for Jackson radio (WMPR 90.1FM) for Chokwe Lumumba (audio here) in the Democratic Primary run-off. It seems Thompson is after those tricky Republicans again. But not Jackson Republicans; no, he puts the blame on Rankin and Madison Republicans.

["Bennie Thompson, he's the one we need" music] Hello, this is Congressman Bennie Thompson endorsing Jackson mayoral candidate attorney Chokwe Lumumba. When I see Republicans from Rankin and Madison County supporting the other so-called Democrat in this race, I know that something is fishy. I know these Republicans well because they are the same Republicans who always support my opponents and they opened their checkbooks last fall for Mitt Romney in an effort to kick President Obama out of the White House. These Republicans want to create charter schools, pass voter-ID laws, cut Pell Grants, end Medicare and reduce Social Security benefits. Jackson voters are too smart to fall for these old Republican tricks. On Tuesday, May 21, vote for a real Democrat, vote for attorney Chokwe Lumumba. Thank you. [Paid for by the Committee to Elect Chokwe Lumumba Mayor of Jackson, Mississippi]

Thompson calls candidate Jonathan Lee a “so-called Democrat.” Lee is a Democrat for sure, but Lumumba, the “real Democrat” told a crowd during the last cycle, “It’s an election we intend to win. But there is no question we are not a Democrat like Barack Obama. We are not a Democrat period and I make that statement clear.” He later clarified according to the report, “Lumumba says he is affiliated with the Mississippi freedom Democratic Party and that qualifies him to run on the Democratic ticket. He also says he intends to make history if he wins by creating a new political party.”

Thompson is a strong political force. If Lumumba loses, he faces little short-term political damage in Jackson. If Lumumba wins, Thompson maintains his status as kingmaker.

The only real question from the Jackson ad that came to my mind is whether the use of Thompson’s own political jingle (which he uses in his own federal campaign and promotes him as “the one we need”) at the beginning and end of the Lumumba paid campaign spot runs afoul of federal campaign finance rules.

Federal rules permit candidates like Thompson to “endorse other federal and nonfederal candidates without running afoul of the coordination rules. They may also solicit federal funds for other federal and nonfederal candidates, political committees and certain tax-exempt 501(c) organizations as permitted by 11 CFR 300.65.5 Such endorsements or solicitations are not coordinated communications (i.e., in-kind contributions) with respect to the endorsing or soliciting candidate unless the communication promotes his or her candidacy or attacks his or her opponent.” Certainly any infraction would be minor, but I know when I first heard the ad, I wondered why a Bennie Thompson campaign ad was running this year.

(*A correction in the column: I noted that Republicans in the Mississippi delegation had not endorsed in Republican versus Republican fights, but reader Steven Carter noted that in fact Congressman Gregg Harper was a fundraiser sponsor for Madison Mayor Mary Hawkins Butler in her primary against Supervisor John Bell Crosby.)


Partial list of run-offs in MS municipal primaries for May 21

Monday, May 13th, 2013

It is time for many Mississippi voters to go back to the polls in municipal primary run-off elections. Races in which no candidate received more than 50 percent of the vote in the initial primary on May 7 will advance the top two candidates in vote numbers for a run-off on Tuesday, May 21. The general election is June 4 and features any party nominees and independents.

Here are a few of the run-offs in Mississippi. The list is not comprehensive and thanks to the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal and the Biloxi Sun Herald for their lists. Also, Tishomingo County has an alcohol vote today where voters will decide about beer and/or liquor sales in the county.

Democratic Primary Run-Off

Amory - Mayor: Brad Blalock, Thomas Griffith
Amory - Alderman-at-Large: Sylvia Roberts Patterson; Tyrone James
Baldwin - Mayor: Michael James (i); Roslynn Clark Copeland
Baldwin - Police Chief: Tory Agnew; Don Rowan (i)
Baldwin - Alderman Ward 1: Steve Scales; Lee Bowdry
Bay St. Louis - Alderman-at-Large: Mike Favre, Gregory Farve
Booneville - Mayor: Derrick Blythe; Joe Eaton (i)
Booneville - Alderman Ward 1: Lee Bethay, Jason Michael
Booneville - Alderman-at-Large: Mitch Barrett, Harold Eaton
Canton - Mayor: Arnel Bolden, William Truly (i)
Canton - Alderman Ward 5: Reuben Myers, Toby Lacey
Canton - Alderman Ward 7: Andrew Grant, Cobby Williams
Clarksdale - Alderman Ward 2: Adrian Allen, Ken Murphey
Clarksdale - Alderman Ward 4: Edward Seals, Darron Griffin
Holly Springs - Alderman-at-Large: Johnnie Bagley-Johnson, Tim Liddy
Holly springs - Alderman Ward 2: Sharon Gipson, Lennell “Big Luke” Lucas
Holly Springs - Alderman Ward 4: Christy Owens, Harvey Payne, Sr. (i)
Jackson - Mayor: Jonathan Lee, Chokwe Lumumba
Jackson - Councilman: Ward 4: De’Keither Stamps, Derrick Trimble
Jackson - Councilman Ward 5: Bettye Dagner-Cook, Charles Tillman
Laurel - Mayor: Omeria Scott, Johnny Magee
Meridian - Alderman Ward 2: Kenneth Dustin Markham, Mary A.B. Perry (i)
Meridian - Alderman Ward 4: Kim Houston, Jesse Palmer Sr. (i)
Nettleton - Alderman Ward 2: Gail Senter (i), G.C. Rhudy
Nettleton - Alderman Ward 3: Iry L. Gladney, Marty Langley
New Albany - Alderman Ward 3: Larry Dykes, Kevin Dale White
Okolona - Alderman Ward 4: Imogene Armstrong (i); Regina Pickens
Philadelphia - Alderman Ward 4: Cecil Nichols, Bobbie Jackson
Pontotoc - Alderman-at-Large: David White, Phyllis High
Ripley - Alderman-at-Large: Shane Bourg, Jon Grisham
Shannon - Mayor: Ronnie Hallmark (i), Willie Bob Gates
Shannon - Alderman Ward 3: James Oswalt, Jack Ivy
Starkville - Alderman Ward 2: Sandra Sistrunk (i), Lisa Wynn
West Point - Selectman Ward 3: Jimmy Clark, Charles B. Collins (i)

Republican Primary Run-Off

Biloxi - Alderman Ward 3: Dixie Newman, Joy Barhanovich Tucei
Biloxi - Alderman Ward 4: Rober Deming III, Robert Collier
Biloxi - Alderman Ward 6: Kenny Glavan, Ed Gemmill (i)
Brandon - Alderman-at-Large: James Morris (i), Roy Nicholson
Canton - Alderman Ward 4: Casey Foy, Tommie Hill
Canton - Alderman Ward 5: Milton Brown, Randall Stephens
Diamondhead - Alderman Ward 2: Blanie LaFontaine, Eric Allen Nolan
Diamondhead - Alderman Ward 3: Kenny Schmitt, Thomas Sislow
Gautier - Alderman Ward 4: Charles Rusty Anderson, James Lee [Lee Withdrew]
Gulfport - Alderman Ward 5: Myles Sharp, Chris Forte
Horn Lake - Alderman Ward 6: John Jones (i), Barbara Jones
Horn Lake - Alderman-at-Large: William Brooks, Steve Dodd
Ocean Springs - Alderman Ward 6: James Hagan (i), Michael Impey II
Olive Branch - Mayor: Scott Phillips, Art Shumway
Olive Branch - Ward 1: Gil Earhart, Don Tullos (i)
Pascagoula - Alderman Ward 5: Scott Tipton, Tim Lee
Pascagoula - Alderman-at-Large: Brenda H. Simkins, Harold Tillman (i)
Petal - Alderman-at-Large: Joe McMurry Sr., William H. King IV
Picayune - City Council Precinct 1: Larry Watkins (i), Tammy Valente
Philadelphia - Alderman Ward 1: Josh Gamblin, Woody Reed
Southaven - Mayor: Darren Musselwhite, Jerald Wheeler
Southaven - Ward 1: Kristian Kelly, Chris Bradley
Southaven - Ward 2: Shirley Beshears, Ronnie Hale
Southaven - Ward 4: J.M. Gallagher, Ronnie Rhoda
Southaven - Ward 5: Scott Ferguson, William Hurst
Southaven - Ward 6: Bill Sexton, Raymond Flores


Perry on WLBT’s Red Blue Review

Wednesday, May 8th, 2013

MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS


MS LEG - 5 Dem reps run for mayor & special elections update

Wednesday, May 8th, 2013

Of the five Democratic legislators seeking to serve their hometowns as mayor, two will be for sure returning to the legislature this next session. Representative Chuck Espy (House 26) lost to businessman Bill Luckett in the Democratic Primary on May 7 and Representative Omeria Scott (House 80) lost in the run-off election in Laurel.

In Holly Springs, Representative Kelvin Buck (House 5) defeated incumbent Mayor Andre DeBerry in the Democratic Primary.  He faces no general election opponent and when he resigns to become mayor, it will trigger a special election.

In Vicksburg, Representative George Flaggs (House 55) edged out his five opponents (including the incumbent mayor) to win the primary without a run-off. He will face independent Daryl Hollingsworth in the June 4 general election but is expected to win.  He had previously said he would resign early to spend full time campaigning.  Whenever he does resign, that will trigger a special election for his seat.

Representative Billy Broomfield (House 110) advances to the June general election against independents Dobbs Dennis and John Mosley, Jr.  Broomfield defeated incumbent Mayor Aneice Liddell in the Democratic Primary.

I don’t have context on past cycles on whether this is an unusual exodus of legislators to the municipal level. One story line could be that Democrats, in the minority for the first time, are looking for other opportunities now that Republicans control the House of Representatives.  But political folks often look for narratives even when one does not exist.  While the GOP in charge may have contributed to the search for greener pastures, at least two of these representatives (Flaggs and Espy are both committee chairmen) worked well across party lines and Flaggs had previously sought to be mayor. I would think the motivation, as is always, a mix of local opportunity, more time at home, an increase in retirement, a desire to serve their neighbors and a little frustration at being out of legislative power as well.

Democrats would be hard pressed to claim these particular races as partisan victories as three resulted in the defeat of Democrat incumbents.

New mayors will take office July 1.

# # #

Below is a running and periodically updated list of legislative special elections in 2013 in Mississippi.

January 8 - House 59 (Rankin) Election: Scot Allen; Benny L. Hubbard; Bradley Lum; Brent Powell - WINNER: Powell (BLOG POST: MS House 59 Special - Finance Reports: Powell & Lum leading)

January 15 - Senate 16 (Clay, Lowndes, Noxubee, Oktibbeha) Election: Angela Turner Lairy; Kenny Fowler - WINNER: Turner-Lairy (BLOG POST: MS Senate 16 Special - Campaign Finance Reports)

February 5 - Senate 28 (Hinds) Election: Tamarra Grace Butler; Cindy Ayers Elliott; Marshand Crisler; Sollie B. Norwood; Antonio Porter; Kathy L. Sykes; James Stewart; Tommy L. Wallace II; Cassandra Welchin - RUNOFF: Crisler & Norwood (BLOG POST: MS Senate 28 - Special Election - Campaign Finance)

February 26 - Run-Off for Senate 28: Marshand Crisler; Sollie Norwood - WINNER: Norwood (BLOG POST: Senate 28 Run-off today: Crisler, Norwood)

March 12 - House 36 (Clay, Monroe, Lowndes) Election: Jimmy Davidson, Bobbie Davis, Karl Gibbs, Rev. Eddie Longstreet, Dr. Roderick Van Daniel, Jeannie Johnson Staten. RUNOFF - Gibbs & Longstreet (BLOG POST: House 36 Campaign Finance – Not Much To Report)

March 26 - House 11 (Panola, Tate) Election: Marshall Bartlett, Anderson Boothe, Lataisha M. Jackson, Ederic L. Kerney (BLOG POST: Bartlett, Boothe lead fundraising & spending in House 11 special) RUNOFF - Boothe & Jackson

April 2 - Run-Off for House 36 (Clay, Monroe, Lowndes): Karl Gibbs, Rev. Eddie Longstreet (BLOG POST: Longstreet leads Gibbs in campaign finance for House 36 runoff) WINNER: Gibbs

April 16 - Run-Off for House 11 (Panola, Tate): Anderson Boothe and Lataisha Jackson (BLOG POST: Whoever wins House 11 will be youngest legislator) WINNER: Jackson

May 28 - House 95 (Harrison, Hancock): Candidates: Tommy Ballard, Sherri Carr Bevis, Grant Bower, Patricia H. Willis (BLOG POST: House 95 special - Willis self funds with $25K; Bevis gets political insiders) WINNER: Willis


That Jim Eastland watches over like a mother

Monday, May 6th, 2013

Last month I looked at some old campaign songs from John Bell Williams, Cliff Finch and Ross Barnett.

The University of Mississippi has a couple of campaign songs for Senator Jim Eastland posted online that I thought I’d share as well.

This 1954 song, “Cotton State: Roll On Mississippi, Roll On” by the Mississippi Ramblers was a reelection tune from Jim Eastland.

Roll on you Mississippi, roll on.
The world at last is gazing upon,
Not that river but that state,
That Jim Eastland watches over like a mother,
Industry has moved in, the wheels of progress busily spin,
Farmers, too, look to Jim
Now is the time, to vote for him
Let’s send him back to Capitol Hill,
Roll on you Mississippi, roll on.
What once were byways, now are highways,
Up and down and cross the state,
And it’s a fact son, not only Jackson, but Mississippi as a state is great.
Roll on you Mississippi, roll on.
The world at last is gazing upon,
Not that river but that state,
That Jim Eastland guards and guides and watches over,
Schools and colleges too,
Are not the old frame buildings we knew,
This and more, Jim has done (yes sir!)
From his desk (where?!) in Washington,
So send him back to Capitol Hill
Roll on you Mississippi, roll on.

Also, from the Digital Library at Ole Miss is this 1972 campaign commercial song.

It is awful. It sounds like a 1970s coffee commercial.

Let’s all get together and reelect the one who takes pride in Mississippi and serves everyone,
Shows pride in his nation the work that he’s done for Mississippi, Senator Jim Eastland
When Mississippi has a need, Jim Eastland’s there.

My column this week in the Madison County Journal (and other newspapers in the state) will revisit the campaign songs in the previous post.


MS Mayor Elections to Watch - Top 10 Cities

Monday, May 6th, 2013

I was a guest last night on WLBT’s Red Blue Review with Jere Nash to fill in for Andy Taggart and we talked mayor races around the state.  Here are the notes I put together before going on the air.  They look at the top 10 cities in the state; five races with sitting legislators; as well as a handful of other races.

Top Ten Cities by Population*

10) Clinton – Five-term incumbent Mary Rosemary Aultman is not seeking reelection. 3 Republicans and 2 Democrats are in the race. Republican city, likely determined in GOP primary between: former alderman and current Hinds County Supervisor Phil Fisher; alderman Tony Hisaw and former state College Board member (Fordice appointee) Ricki Garrett. Garrett, former ED of MS Nurses Association has an education, health care coalition and gender aside, seems most like the current mayor. I expect Garrett and Fisher in a run-off with the winner beating the Dem nominee in June.

9 ) Horn Lake – Two-term Republican Mayor Nat Baker is seeking reelection. He is being challenged by former DeSoto County Supervisor Allen Latimer and political newcomer Jerry Lee Porter. The Democratic primary (Hester McCray-Jackson) is uncontested. Likely the race is between Baker and Latimer.

8 ) Olive Branch – Four-term incumbent Sam Rikard is not seeking reelection. There are five candidates in the race – all Republicans: Republican activist Brian Hodges, Anthony Holland, six-term DeSoto Supervisor Jessie Medlin, assistant fire chief Scott Phillips and Art Shumway. Likely a run-off – Medlin has an advantage and barely lost to Rikard four years ago but the idea of additional costs for a special election (to fill his supervisor seat were he to win) has become an issue.

7) Tupelo – Incumbent Republican Jack Reed, Jr. not seeking reelection. This is one of two shots Democrats have at a pick-up in June. City Council President, Republican Fred Pitts (age 70) versus personal injury lawyer and Democrat Jason Shelton (age 36). Has become a partisan race with Pitts noting that Shelton is a liberal Democrat who attended President Obama’s inauguration and supported Hillary Clinton. As far as the age issue, Pitts said “70 is the new 50.”

6) Meridian – This is the top potential pickup for Democrats. Four years ago current mayor Cheri Barry won with 51% over Democrat Percy Bland – just 114 votes difference. Both Barry and Bland face challenges in the primary and both are expected to win their respective nominations – but there are three independents in the race on June 4 which could hurt Republican Barry. Bland is denying rumors that Noxubee County Democratic Party boss Ike Brown who was convicted of violating voting rights by the Justice Department is involved in his campaign. And the FBI is investigating the hanging of a stuffed animal in a noose outside Bland’s insurance agency.

5) Biloxi – Republican AJ Holloway is seeking his sixth term and faces a challenge in the GOP Primary and from a Democrat in the general but is expected to win reelection.

4) Hattiesburg – Democrat Johnny Dupree is seeking a fourth term as mayor. He should win in a walk over two challengers in the Democratic Primary. He will face four independents in the general election including perennial candidate Shawn O’Hara. His only real challenge in that race will be Dave Ware, a two term city councilman, but I expect Dupree to win reelection.

3) Southaven – Embattled incumbent Greg Davis, previously a Republican and now an Independent, will face the Republican and Democratic nominees in the general election. The race to watch is the Republican Primary featuring Josh Anderson, Gerald Clifton, Mark Gardner, Christopher Klass, Darren Musselwhite and Jerald Wheeler. I expect Gardner – a Desoto county supervisor – and Musselwhite will face in a run-off. There are still some powerful political forces supporting Davis in DeSoto County but I anticipate the winner of the Republican Primary winning the general there as well.

2) Gulfport – Incumbent Mayor George Schloegel isn’t running for reelection and former Senator Billy Hewes – who served as President Pro Tem of the Senate under then Lt Gov Phil Bryant and lost the Republican Primary for Lt Gov to Tate Reeves in 2011 is running unopposed.

1) Jackson – I try not to predict the outcome of Democratic primaries, but it seems to me the race for the run-off is between incumbent Mayor Harvey Johnson, businessman Jonathan Lee and City Councilman Chokwe Lumumba. Whoever wins the run-off will face three independents but essentially the primary is the race to win.

Top 10 Predictions – Current partisan standings: GOP 8; Dem 2 – after the elections, the Dems could pick up 1 possibly 2 seats but I’m hoping to hold steady. (When Southaven Mayor Greg Davis qualified for reelection as an Independent, the numbers are technically 7-2-1.) The GOP put a lot of effort into Tupelo and Meridian four years ago and I think they will need to do so again.

*Not counting Greenville which has its municipal elections off cycle.

Other Notes: (Primary – May 7 — Run-Off – May 21 — General – June 4)

–Three of the four Democratic candidates for Governor in 2013 are running for Mayor. Johnny Dupree for reelection in Hattiesburg; Bill Luckett in Clarksdale; and Bill Compton in Meridian.

–A number of supervisors and state representatives are running for mayor, any of which were to win would necessitate special elections to fill their seats.

Legislators Running For Mayor

Five Democratic state representatives are running for mayor of their home towns. Kelvin Buck (Dist 5) in Holly Springs; Chuck Espy (Dist 26) in Clarksdale; George Flaggs (Dist 55) in Vicksburg; Omeria Scott (Dist 80) in Laurel; and Billy Broomfield (Dist 110) in Moss Point.

Holly Springs – Democratic incumbent Mayor Andre DeBerry seeking fourth term, ten years as alderman before mayor. Kelvin Buck in his third term in House District 5.

Clarksdale – Three Democrats, one Republican, two independents running but the real race is in the Democratic Primary between Rep Chuck Espy and businessman/attorney Bill Luckett. Espy is the son of current Mayor Henry Espy; Luckett a business partner with Morgan Freeman.

Vicksburg – Decided in Democratic Primary: Rep George Flaggs in the legislature since 1988; incumbent Mayor Paul Winfield recently settled a sexual harassment lawsuit and still faces a federal bribery indictment; businesswoman and former legal prostitute and Neveda brothel owner Linda Fondren; former Warren County supervisor John Ferguson; former alderwoman Gertrude Young; and David Day. Daryl Hollingsworth is running as an independent. Advantage goes to George Flaggs.

Laurel – Incumbent Democratic Mayor Melvin Mack not seeking reelection, instead running for Ward Seven Council seat. Democratic Primary: Rep Omeria Scott, Councilman Johnny Magee, Fire Chief Alfred Jordan. Independent Kevin Keyes, retired fireman.

Moss Point – Incumbent Mayor Aneice Liddell faces Elizabeth Irby and State Rep Billy Broomfield in Democratic Primary. The winner faces independents Dobbs Dennis and John Mosely Jr in June.

Note: We already have had (or will have) six special legislative elections this year so far; four in the House and two in the Senate. Could result in even greater turnover. The number of Dem reps running for mayor may demonstrate dissatisfaction with being in the minority in the legislature although some, like Espy and Flaggs, have worked well with Republicans.

Other Elections:

Madison – Madison Mayor Mary Hawkins-Butler has molded Madison by her vision for 32 years as mayor. During that time she has made lots of friends, and some enemies. She is being challenged by second term Madison Supervisor John Bell Crosby. Totally a referendum on Butler who I anticipate winning.

Byram – First city election – three running for mayor: Independent Richard White who served as a state Senator from the area as a Republican; Democrat Kevin Lavine and Republican Phil Rodgers. They will meet in the general election – no primary for mayor.

Brandon – Alderman Butch Lee was running without opposition for mayor of Brandon. In March, Mayor Tim Coulter resigned so the Board of Alderman could go ahead and appoint Lee mayor. So no primary there. But an interesting race for alderman-at-large with incumbent Republican James Morris and Vaughn Galloway facing Mississippi Tea Party State Chairman Roy Nicholson. Tea Party activists across the state have been helping him so this will be a measure of Tea Party strength on the local level.

Canton – Republican Primary: Chip Matthews and Lorriane Levy. Nominee will be hard pressed to defeat the Democratic nominee. That primary features: incumbent Dr. William Truly, insurance agent Arnel Bolden, former mayor Fred Esco jr and businessman Greg Green. At the request of Madison DA Michael Guest, Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann will send monitors to Canton for the primary. Four years ago, Guest’s office indicted and convicted half a dozen individuals for fraud after receiving multiple complaints after the election. All pleaded guilty and the sentences varied from suspended sentence to over 10 years in prison.

Ocean Springs – Connie Moran squeaked out a victory four years ago in an election that had many Republicans suggesting fraudulent shenanigans, but she defeated a Republican opponent who outspent her significantly. This year she faces Republican Jackson County Supervisor John McKay. Moran has been working hard in the reelection campaign and had a fundraiser hosted by Attorney General Jim Hood.

Ridgeland – Republican Mayor Gene McGee is unopposed in the primary and general.

Starkville – Incumbent Mayor Parker Wiseman expected to win the Democratic Primary against former alderwoman Mary Lee Beal. He then faces a challenge by Republican Dan Moreland in the general election.

Oxford – Incumbent Mayor George Patterson expected to win the Democratic Primary against challenger Jason Plunk, but faces an organized campaign by former Ole Miss football standout and retired NFL player Todd Wade running as an independent.


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