Mississippi Presidential Primer for March 8 Primary

March 5th, 2016 by Perry

Awarding Mississippi Delegates

Winning Mississippi’s Republican delegates in the March 8 primary depends not only on the statewide total, but also the votes cast in each of the four congressional districts.

By Congressional District:

Each Mississippi congressional district will award 3 delegates. If a candidate carries the majority vote in a district, he wins all 3 delegates. If there is no majority, first place in the district gets 2 delegates and second place gets 1 delegate. Total congressional district delegates available: 12.

By State At Large:

Each candidate receiving at least 15% of the vote statewide receives a portion of the delegates. The delegates are awarded to all candidates meeting that threshold apportioned by their share of the vote. Total state at large delegates: 28.

RNC Delegates:

Mississippi Republican Party Chairman Joe Nosef, Mississippi National Committeewoman Jeanne Luckey and Mississippi National Committeeman Henry Barbour each vote as 1 delegate by virtue of their position on the Republican National Committee. Barbour has endorsed Marco Rubio. Total RNC delegates: 3.

Where to Watch:

In 2012, 293,783 voters cast ballots in the Mississippi Republican Presidential Primary. The following 13 counties made up 54.4% of the Republican Presidential Primary results.

· Capital Tri-County: Rankin, Hinds, Madison: 17.5%

· Memphis Suburbs: DeSoto: 5.7%

· Gulf Coast: Harrison, Jackson, Hancock, Pearl River: 15.6%

· Tupelo: Lee 4.4%

· Meridian: Lauderdale 3.1%

· Pinebelt: Jones, Lamar, Forrest 8.1%

Up For Grabs:

Mississippi’s Second Congressional District is represented by Congressman Bennie Thompson, a Democrat in a very secure Democratic district. Mississippi’s other three districts are heavily Republican, but the 2nd District awards 3 delegates just like each of the others. Parts of Hinds County (Clinton) & Madison County are in the 2nd District; also a strong showing in Warren (Vicksburg), Washington (Greenville), Leflore (Greenwood), Panola (Batesville), Copiah (Crystal Springs) and Yazoo (Yazoo City) could capture 1 or 2 delegates with a much lower total vote number than in the more Republican areas of the state. Y’all Politics with Magellan Strategies BR released a poll last week showing Donald J. Trump leading in all four congressional districts but posting his lowest numbers in the 2nd District where 1 in 5 voters were still undecided.


Four years ago, Mississippi split three ways with Rick Santorum at 32.8%; Newt Gingrich at 31.2%; Mitt Romney at 30.6%. After all district delegates and at large delegates were awarded, Santorum won 13 delegates while Gingrich and Romney each took 12.

On the Ballot:

While only four candidates continue their campaigns, thirteen candidates are listed on the Republican ballot. Mississippi does not have early voting but absentee voting began on January 23rd and ended at noon on March 5. A special election in Senate District 25 (Hinds, Madison) is being held on March 8 as well. While that race is nonpartisan on the ballot, both candidates are Republicans and the race will be listed on both the Republican and Democratic primary ballots.

MCPP & Mike Hurst launch Mississippi Justice Institute

February 25th, 2016 by Perry

This is great news coming from the Mississippi Center for Public Policy which has created the Mississippi Justice Institute with Mike Hurst at the helm. Here is the full release:

MCPP Launches Mississippi Justice Institute

Former Assistant US Attorney Mike Hurst to direct legal efforts

(JACKSON) – Mississippi Center for Public Policy (MCPP) today announced the creation of the Mississippi Justice Institute (MJI) as the Center’s legal arm to represent Mississippians whose state or federal Constitutional rights have been threatened by government actions. Former Assistant U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst has joined MCPP to serve as its General Counsel and as Director of MJI.

“For 23 years we’ve worked to help legislators write laws to guard the liberty of the people of Mississippi, to enhance their opportunities, and to protect their families,” said Forest Thigpen, President of MCPP. “Through the Mississippi Justice Institute, we will pursue those same goals in the judicial system by working to ensure our laws are carried out in a way that protects the liberty of our people and honors their Constitutional rights.”

Thigpen said, “We’re thrilled to have Mike Hurst join us to lead this effort. Mike’s work as a federal prosecutor, fighting public corruption in Mississippi, and his experience in constitutional issues in Washington, D.C., make him a perfect fit for this new project.”

Hurst said, “With the creation of MJI, I am excited about the opportunity to continue to pursue the interests of freedom and justice on behalf of Mississippi citizens in our courts. In the past, conservative legal groups from outside have come to Mississippi in order to fill this void - and they’ve done a fine job - but not all the violations of rights are headline grabbers. Mississippians need someone here to fight for the rights of our citizens whose life, liberty and property rights are being, abused, or limited by government. MJI will represent individuals or groups whose rights are threatened or infringed upon by the government, and we will intervene when important liberty interests or issues are being litigated in the courts, considered or decided upon by administrative agencies, or debated in the public square.”

Hurst noted MJI’s activities would include direct litigation on behalf of individuals, intervening in cases important to public policy, participating in regulatory and rule making proceedings, and filing amicus, or “friend of the Court,” briefs to offer unique perspectives on significant legal matters in Mississippi and Federal courts.

Hurst said, “America and Mississippi prosper with a limited government that allows free markets to work. Limited government isn’t just a conservative idea; it is the heart and soul of our state and federal constitutions. In practical matters, for families and businesses and citizens, an unconstitutional law or policy is only overturned if someone stands up and fights against it. MJI will be that champion for Mississippians in need.” Hurst said MJI will be announcing its first legal action “very soon.”

Prior to joining MCPP, Hurst served as Assistant United States Attorney from 2006 until 2015, when he resigned and ran as the Republican nominee for Mississippi Attorney General. As a federal prosecutor, Mike led some of the largest and most complex public corruption and white collar cases in the state’s history, including the recent bribery case against the former Mississippi Department of Corrections Commissioner. In 2014, Hurst was awarded the Director’s Award for Outstanding Prosecution of Fraud and Service to Fraud Prevention by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Executive Office of the United States Attorneys. Previously, Hurst served as Counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee focusing on the U.S. Constitution, and later as Legislative Director and Counsel for Congressman Chip Pickering.

The Mississippi Center for Public Policy is an independent, non-profit organization based in Jackson. It works to advance the ideals of free markets, limited government, and strong traditional families. Its work, including the Mississippi Justice Institute, is supported by voluntary, tax-deductible contributions. It receives no funds from government agencies for its operations. To learn more about MCPP, visit www.mspolicy.org.


Kasich featured speaker at Hinds-Rankin GOP fundraiser March 1

February 23rd, 2016 by Perry

GOP Presidential candidate Governor John Kasich will be the guest speaker at a fundraiser for the Hinds and Rankin County Republican committees on March 1, one week before the Mississippi Republican Primary.

Hinds County GOP Chairman Pete Perry stressed in an e-mail to committee members that this is a fundraiser for the Republican committees in Hinds and Rankin and not an endorsement  of Kasich for President:

This has to be treated as a fund raising opportunity for us and the others involved – not as any sort of endorsement of Governor Kasich.  As most of you know, I personally like and support him but I know there are others on our committees who like and/or are supporting other candidates. This event will feature Governor Kasich and his history and his experiences while serving as both a Congressman and as a Governor, so even if you are leaning toward voting for another candidate I urge you to get behind this event since it is going to be OUR fundraiser.

While not an endorsement of Kasich, the event provides him with a high profile Republican audience a week before voters go to the polls in Mississippi. The capital tri-county area of Hinds, Rankin and Madison counties made up 17.5% of the Mississippi Republican Primary vote in 2012.

In addition to the Primary on March 8, Hinds and Madison voters are also voting in a special state Senate election. Special elections are nonpartisan but it is a strongly Republican district and both candidates in the race are Republicans.

The event will be at the Jackson Hilton (1001 East County Line Road) with a reception at 6:00pm and a dinner at 7:00pm. A table of 8 costs $800. RSVP to stacie@hayesdent.com with checks payable to Central Mississippi Republicans (975 North Street, Suite 206; Jackson, MS 39202).

160K Tennessee Republicans have already voted; how many voted for Bush?

February 22nd, 2016 by Perry

Tennessee’s Republican Primary on March 1 will help narrow the field among the GOP’s remaining competitive candidates: Ted Cruz, John Kasich, Marco Rubio and Donald Trump. Kasich and Trump are both planning events in Memphis (to take advantage of the Arkansas & Mississippi overlap).

Tennessee is one of many states to vote that day, but what sticks out to me is that between February 10 and February 20: 162,520 Tennessee Republicans used early voting to cast their ballots. I wonder, how many voted for Jeb Bush? Bush dropped out the night of February 20.

Surely not a lot; that’s the reason Bush dropped out. He was unable to post strong numbers. But let’s say he took 5% - will 8,000 votes make a difference on March 1? Likely not, but I think most campaigns would rather have had the opportunity to compete for those votes than for them to make no difference at all.

Texas and Georgia also vote on March 1. Texas, home of George W. Bush (and Ted Cruz) has been doing early voting since February 16. Georgia started in-person early voting before the New Hampshire Primary on February 8 (in addition to Jeb Bush, Governor Chris Christie and businesswoman Carly Fiorina were both still in the race then, as well).

In Ohio, if you vote early and your candidate drops out, not only do you not make a difference, your vote isn’t even counted: (NBC News)

Matt Borges, head of the Ohio Republican Party, said he predicts one-third of voters will vote early in Ohio.

Voters are heading to the polls even as the field continues to narrow.

In Ohio, for instance, any candidate that dropped out after February 4 - Jeb Bush, Carly Fiorina, Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum - will still be on the ballot but their votes won’t be tabulated.

I’ve written about my opposition to early voting many times.

I believe it increases the opportunity for election fraud, lengthens the campaign season while diminishing political debate, creates logistical challenges for election officials, and substitutes a civics of convenience for our citizen fellowship. (”Rejecting early voting“)

Unlike absentee ballots, where you can show up at the poll on election day and vote and your absentee ballot is removed, you can’t change your mind. Late debates, breaking news, closing arguments - none of that matters if you’ve used early voting to cast your ballot. (“Voting early ignores debates”)

I wonder how different the results on March 1 would be if more voters waited until March 1 to cast their vote.

Run-Off Tuesday for voters in 7 counties

November 23rd, 2015 by Perry

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: perry@capstone.ms

“America’s Great Storm” by Gov Haley Barbour - Book Tour

August 19th, 2015 by Perry

Last month I wrote about Governor Haley Barbour’s upcoming book “America’s Great Storm: Leading Through Hurricane Katrina” and mention in this week’s column that he will be appearing on a panel during this Saturday’s Mississippi Book Festival. The full schedule for Governor Barbour’s upcoming Mississippi book tour has been released. Below is the press release verbatim.

# # #


Date:              August 19, 2015


Barbour’s new book, “America’s Great Storm,” details the first 12 months after the worst natural disaster in American history

(JACKSON, Miss.) – Today former Governor Haley Barbour announced his Mississippi tour schedule for his new book, America’s Great Storm: Leading through Hurricane Katrina.  The tour, which begins Aug. 22, will give Mississippians an opportunity to visit with Gov. Barbour during visits to several cities across the state.

“As we approach the ten-year anniversary of Katrina, I look forward to visiting with many of the same individuals who made the Mississippi Katrina story unique.  Our state was forever changed by America’s great storm, and I am grateful to have the opportunity to tell the Mississippi story to readers across the country.  I hope I do this wonderful story justice,” Governor Barbour said.

When Hurricane Katrina hit Mississippi on August 29, 2005, it unleashed the costliest natural disaster in American history, and the third deadliest. Haley Barbour had been Mississippi’s governor for only twenty months when he assumed responsibility for guiding his pummeled, stricken state’s recovery and rebuilding efforts.

America’s Great Storm is not only a personal memoir of his role in that recovery, but also a sifting of the many lessons he learned about leadership in a time of massive crisis. Joined by co-author Jere Nash, Gov. Barbour’s memoir includes interviews with more than forty-five key people involved in helping Mississippi recover, including local, state, and federal officials as well as private citizens who played pivotal roles in the weeks and months following Katrina’s landfall. In addition to covering in detail the days in September and October of 2005, chapters focus on the special legislative session that allowed casinos to build on shore; the role of the recovery commission chaired by Jim Barksdale; a behind-the-scenes description of working with Congress to pass an unprecedented, multi-billion-dollar emergency disaster assistance appropriation; and the enormous roles played by volunteers in rebuilding the entire housing, transportation, and education infrastructure of south Mississippi and the Gulf Coast.

A final chapter analyzes the leadership lessons and strategies Barbour employed on behalf of the people of the state, observations that will be valuable to anyone tasked with leading in a crisis.

Gov. Barbour will participate in the inaugural Mississippi Book Festival on Saturday, Aug. 22 at the State Capitol.  A full listing of the book tour is included below.

America’s Great Storm Book Tour

(including public events and press availability)

Saturday, August 22, 2015

2-3:30 p.m.               Mississippi Book Festival panel (State Capitol, Room 216)

6-8 p.m.                     Turnrow Books book signing (304 Howard Street, Greenwood, MS 38930)

Sunday, August 23, 2015

2-4 p.m.                     Square Books book signing (160 Courthouse Square, Oxford, MS 38655)

Monday, August 24, 2015

11-12:30 p.m.           Reed’s Gumtree Bookstore book signing (111 S. Spring Street, Tupelo, MS 38804)

2:30-3:30 p.m.          Mississippi State University lecture and book signing (Mitchell Memorial Library – John Grisham Room, 395 Hardy Road, Mississippi State, MS 39762)

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

1-2 p.m.                     Community Bank book signing (301 22nd Avenue South, Meridian, MS 39301)

4:30-6 p.m.               Lemuria Bookstore book signing (4465 North Hwy 55 #202, Jackson, MS 39206)

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

12-1:30 p.m.             Mississippi Department of Archives & History’s “History is Lunch” lecture and book signing (Old Capitol, Jackson)

3:30-5 p.m.               Lauren Rogers Museum of Art book signing (565 N. 5th Avenue, Laurel, MS 39440)

6-7:30 p.m.               University of Southern Mississippi lecture and book signing (Trent Lott Center, 118 College Drive, Hattiesburg, MS 39406)

Thursday, August 27, 2015

9 a.m.                         Leadership Mississippi lecture and book signing (open only to class participants)

10:30-11:15 a.m.     Media Press Avail (Beau Rivage, Biloxi, MS).

12-2 p.m.                   Pass Christian Books book signing (300 East Scenic Drive, Pass Christian, MS 39571)

2:15-3:30 p.m.          Bay Books book signing (131 Main Street, Bay St. Louis, MS 39520)

Friday, August 28, 2015

8-9 a.m.                     Mississippi Gulf Coast Business Council/University of Southern Mississippi joint event (USM’s Gulf Park Campus – Fleming Education Center & Auditorium, 730 E. Beach Blvd., Long Beach, MS 39560)

General inquiries about the book tour can be sent to americasgreatstorm@gmail.com.  Residents can also keep track of Gov. Barbour’s events by following @AmericasGr8Strm on twitter or liking “America’s Great Storm: Leading through Hurricane Katrina” on Facebook.  Individuals interested in purchasing the book online can do so by visiting the publisher’s website (www.upress.state.ms.us) or Amazon.com.


About Haley Barbour, Mississippi’s Governor 2004-2012

In the face of the worst natural disaster in American history – Hurricane Katrina, which struck on August 29, 2005 – Governor Barbour took the lead early on helping Mississippians rebuild and recover. He and First Lady Marsha Barbour worked tirelessly and innovatively with local, state and national leadership to tap into many resources of assistance for victims of Hurricane Katrina.  Gov. Barbour received national recognition from the bipartisan American Legislative Exchange Council for his swift response to the worst natural disaster in American history. For his efforts to rebuild the Mississippi Gulf Coast, he received the Thomas Jefferson Freedom Award. Other awards during his tenure as Governor included being named Governor of the Year by Governing Magazine, receiving the Gulf Guardian Award by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in recognition of his work to rebuild Gulf Coast ecosystems, and receiving the Adam Smith Award from BIPAC to honor his pursuit of the principles of free enterprise.

10 choices for Biloxi voters for mayor

April 28th, 2015 by Perry

Voters in Biloxi go to the polls to elect the mayor of Mississippi’s fifth largest city today. If no candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote, the top two candidates will meet in a run-off on May 12.

Ten candidates are running to fill the seat vacated by A.J. Holloway’s resignation in March:

· Victor Ainsworth

· David Bull

· Cono Caranna

· “FoFo” Gilich

· Felix O. Gines

· Kenny Glavan

· Pat Morris

· Dixie Newman

· W.S. “Windy” Swetman, III

· Paul Tisdale

From the Sun Herald’s coverage of the race:

The candidate list is one of the most diverse in Biloxi’s history and because it’s a special election, candidates don’t run as Republican or Democrat.

Four of the five council members first elected in 2013 are running:

· Gines, elected to the council on his third try, is in the Air National Guard.

· Glavan is manager of Sheraton Four Points hotel in Biloxi.

· Dixie Newman has rallied public and private support to revitalize Hiller Park.

· Paul Tisdale is former superintendent of Biloxi School District.

Two are current or former officials of Harrison County:

· Cono Caranna II, former district attorney, said he will serve the two-year term without pay.

· Windy Swetman III, a county supervisor, organized and opened a senior center in East Biloxi.

Several are business members in Biloxi:

· Victor Ainsworth ran against Fayard for council in 2013 and works for Swetman at Swetman Security.

· Bull owns Bernie’s Restaurant in Biloxi; he ran against Holloway in the last election.

· Andrew “FoFo” Gilich is a software engineer who has run against Holloway for mayor.

· Pat Morris was a member of former Gov. Haley Barbour’s and Holloway’s commissions after Hurricane Katrina and now is assistant to the director at Keesler’s Fisher House.

Legislature passes 4 suffrage bills

April 1st, 2015 by Perry

Today the Senate passed four restoration of suffrage bills already passed by the House.

Under the federal system, a legislation must be signed by the President to become law. Not signing it is called the pocket veto. Under Mississippi’s system, it is just the opposite: legislation becomes law unless the governor vetoes it. If he does nothing, it becomes law without him.

That is what has happened with the previous suffrage bills passed under Governor Phil Bryant: 1 in 2013 and 3 in 2014. Essentially, that makes these particular restoration of suffrage rights bills entirely an act of the legislature with the executive giving neither approval nor disapproval. (While Bryant served as Lt. Gov., 21 suffrage rights measures passed.)

I’ve looked at suffrage bills over the years, particularly interested in whether the uproar over former Governor Haley Barbour’s pardons impacted the introduction or approval of these measures (post from 2012 & post from 2013). Over the past 11 years, 90 Mississippians have had their suffrage rights restored by the legislature.

Here is a chart tracking the number of bills filed, the number of legislators making these requests and the number of bills approved from the 2004 session through the 2014 session. I haven’t added the 5 bills submitted, 4 legislators making requests and 4 bills pending approval from this year.

Democrats recruit “prominent” Elvis impersonator to run for LtGov

February 4th, 2015 by Perry

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: FindItInFondren.com)

Tim Johnson at Brents Drugs in Jackson (Photo: FindItInFondren.com)

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.

Cochran, Wicker receive committee assignments

December 15th, 2014 by Perry

The communications office for the Senate Republican Conference has released the committee assignments for the 114th Congress with Mississippi Senators Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker getting solid, but expected, assignments. I think we can infer from the list that indeed, Cochran will return to his position as Chairman of Senate Appropriations, but as the release notes, the “assignments are subject to ratification by the Republican Conference as well as the full Senate. New Committee Chairs will be selected by a vote of the members of each respective panel and then ratified by the Republican Conference.”

Here are Mississippi’s Senate committee assignments with my notes in parenthesis.

Senator Thad Cochran
Appropriations (Likely Chairman)
Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry (Formerly Ranking Member)
Rules and Administration (Listed Third)

Senator Roger Wicker
Armed Services (Likely Sub-Committee Chairman of Seapower)
Commerce, Science and Transportation (2nd in Seniority; Likely Telecom Subcommittee Chair)
Environment and Public Works
Rules and Administration

Here is the full release.

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