Politics Blog


July 15, 2015

Clinton Takes Mississippi in 2016? Probably against Trump, at least ...

By Donna Ladd

A new polling analysis published by examiner.com indicates something about Mississippi that has been in the works for a while: Based on recent elections, our state is trending blue.

Based on polling data on a Hillary Clinton vs. Donald Trump showdown in 2016, Mississippi is one of the few Deep South states that would go for Clinton in that matchup.

This analysis might surprise many who think that Mississippi is the reddest state of the red (especially based on our statewide cavemen, er, elected officials). But several facts make it much more complicated than at first glance:

  1. State Democrats have provided very few even-marginally-progressive options historically, giving younger and less-conservative choices to vote for, creating voter lethargy among those who might turn out and vote "blue" otherwise. That fact is actually changing this year, with several openly progressive (and female) Democrats getting at least some party support, instead of the pseudo-Republicans the party has tended to put up in the last 20 years.

  2. More young people of all races are staying in Mississippi, and many of them are voting Democratic, and have since 2004.

  3. Demographics, demographics, demographics. The irony of Mississippi being the state with the highest percentage of enslaved people in 1860 is that our state still has the highest percentage of African Americans and is more likely than much of Dixie to go blue first. Put simply, African Americans tend to vote Democratic, ever since the Republican Party embrace of Dixiecrats back in the late 1960s after national Dems supported civil-rights laws, and we have the highest percentage of black residents in the country.

  4. And, let's be honest, even many Republicans don't want bat-shit-crazy Trump running this country.

  5. Finally, to be honest again, a lot of white people like Clinton better than Obama (even if I'm not one of them).

So, there are no surprises here: Mississippi has been steadily trending blue for a while now. The question, as always, is: Will the people who can flip the state into the blue column turn out both this November (to save public-education funding and turn out a governor who makes us look like the most stuck-in-the-past state) and next November?

Time, and voter registration, will tell. Progressive (which is easy to be here by rejecting the radical right) Mississippians must find the will to stop giving up our power to sellouts to bigotry and backward ideas (and ideologues) to lift our state up. I've watched this will grow since we started this paper in 2002—and saw serious evidence of it when we turned back Personhood, shocking the nation—and I believe in upcoming elections we may well surprise the world once again. I've believed this was coming for nearly 15 years now.

Stay tuned and register to vote.


July 2, 2015

Bernie Sanders... Frontrunner?

By Todd Stauffer

He may not be leading money totals or straw polls, but Senator Bernie Sanders apparently did something that no other candidate has done yet in the 2016 presidential race... he had a record crowd last night in Wisconsin, pushing 10,000 people. Interesting.

June 26, 2015

NAE Takes Jesus Out Of Context on 'Definition' of Marriage

By Tom_Head

In response to the Supreme Court's ruling today on same-sex marriage, the National Association of Evangelicals sent a statement to media, that begins:

God designed marriage for humanity. As first described in Genesis and later affirmed by Jesus, marriage is a God-ordained, covenant relationship between a man and a woman. This lifelong, sexually exclusive relationship brings children into the world and thus sustains the stewardship of the earth. Biblical marriage —­­ marked by faithfulness, sacrificial love and joy — displays the relationship between God and his people. [1] While commentators, politicians and judges may revise their understanding of marriage in response to shifting societal trends, followers of Jesus should embrace his clear vision of marriage found in Matthew 19:4-6...

The most interesting thing about the NAE's statement is that it gives Jesus' answer to a question (Matthew 19:4-6) while omitting the question itself (Matthew 19:3). The passage in question has to do with divorce, not with same-sex marriage. Here's the NIV translation of the full exchange:

(19:3) Some Pharisees came to him to test [Jesus]. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?”

(19:4-6) “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’[a] and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’[b]? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

While the NAE takes this statement to prohibit homosexuality (a topic Jesus never addresses), the National Association of Evangelicals does not take it to completely prohibit divorce. There are compelling pastoral reasons why it would be a bad idea to interpret it in that way.

The possibility that there may be similarly compelling pastoral reasons not to read the passage out of context as a condemnation of homosexuality does not seem to occur to our friends in the NAE at this time.

That said, it is worth mentioning that support for same-sex marriage among white evangelical Protestants has nearly doubled—from 14% to 27%—in the past ten years.

If this trend continues, the NAE is likely to follow Jesus' example and stop condemning homosexuality sometime around 2025.

June 23, 2015

Mississippi Speaker Pro Tem Greg Snowden Agrees With Speaker Gunn: 'Reconsider' State Flag'

By Donna Ladd

"I believe any state flag should be a common symbol citizens can unite behind and proudly embrace as their own. If our flag is no longer useful for those purposes (to instill pride and unity across the broad spectrum of citizens), then we should reconsider its current status. I certainly agree with Speaker Gunn that the time has come to have that conversation."

May 29, 2015

Kenny Stokes Wants a Bridge Named for Frank Melton

By R.L. Nave

Buried deep within the city council's 78-item agenda for Tuesday, is a proposed resolution from Jackson Councilman Kenneth Stokes to name the Pearl Street Bridge for the controversial late Mayor Frank Melton.

It's unclear what Stokes's motives are beyond the fact that he was an ally of Melton, who died on Election Night in 2009, and he seems to enjoy prolonging city council meetings as long as possible.

We'll try to find out more next week.


May 29, 2015

Has 'Us vs. Them' Politics Taken Its Toll on Conservatism?

By Todd Stauffer

Call it "us vs. them politics"—like National Memo does in this piece—or what I call the "virtue of selfishness" that has been pushed for the last 30 years by conservative think tanks and pundits, but it boils down to this—social conservatives in this country like to blame the "other" for societal ills.

From the American Family Council calling an open-door campaign in the wake of anti-gay legislation "bullying" of Christians, to the persistent bellyaching here in the JFP comments about crime and social safety net programs, you see this "us vs. them" argument over and over again.

But here's what's interesting... the "us" may be getting smaller and smaller all the time.

For the first time since Gallup started asking the question in 1999, there's a tie between people who identify as "socially liberal" and those who identify as "socially conservative." The number is pinned at 31 percent each. Up until now, conservatives had led in that poll.

Likewise, on specific "moral" issues, again as measured by Gallup, the country has showed large left-ward shifts since 2001 on questions such as gay and lesbian acceptance, sex and childrearing out of wedlock, divorce, and stem cell research; smaller shift show on issues such as abortion rights, doctor-assisted suicide and against the death penalty.


Going into an election year in Mississippi, we probably won't feel that shift; most likely the we'll hear more about conservative wedge issues such as immigration, marriage equality and irrational rallying cries against expanding Medicaid and education.

But on a national stage going into the 2016 elections, this tilting landscape could spell trouble for the GOP, especially as it seems largely intent on trotting out the same candidates and many of the same tropes that have failed them in previous presidential election cycles. From the Salon piece:

Gen-X dreamboats Marco Rubio and Scott Walker, on the other hand, are offering young people a bleak vision of endless war, antiquated social values and economic hardship and they know it. It matters little if that dark picture of the future is offered by a youthful fellow with an ethnic name. It’s embarrassing for the Republicans that they don’t understand that.

If the country continues on its path to the left on social issues, it does seem that the clever politician who can marry a fiscally moderate position (strong economy plus strong safety net plus modern education and workforce) with a leftward social platform will likely continue to win outside of the gerrymandered districts of Congress.

From there, it's a question of rallying voters to the cause of fixing broken Congressional districts and campaign finance, so the voice of the people truly be heard at all levels of government.

April 14, 2015

Two Charter Schools in NOLA Closing

By Todd Stauffer

Looking for evidence that charter schools don't offer a panacea for education because they're "run-like-a-business" solutions for education?

The churning waters of economic reality are bubbling over in New Orleans this spring; two schools, Miller-McCoy and Lagniappe Academies are both facing failure of their management, resulting in a great deal of turmoil for parents and students.

Interesting in the Lagniappe Academies case, the problem seems to be so dire that they may have to close the school early this year to "save money."

“I’m going to suggest that the school closes post state testing to save…money,” Bishop said.

Bishop said he recently learned the board may not have been receiving truthful information about the school’s finances and other matters from leadership. McCormick assumed leadership after CEO Kendall Petri and Chief Operating Officer Ninh Tran left mid-March. He said ending the year early could save the organization money and give the leadership the time needed to shut down the campus.

It sounds like the plan now is for management to give up completely and hand the school over to teachers.

The room broke out in applause when the board voted to put teachers in charge. Many members of the audience also voted ‘aye’ when the board voted on a motion calling for McCormick to resign by Friday.

Now, clearly, New Orleans has even greater challenges than Jackson when it comes to its schools and the failed school district they're trying to piece back together. But it does seem to offer some interesting case-studies for what happens when charters implode.

March 26, 2015

Yarber Pulls A HOC-Style Trick From His Sleeve, Declares State of Emergency

By R.L. Nave

In Season 3 of House of Cards, the Netflix dark political drama, President Frank Underwood devises a plan to circumvent Congress and fund his sweeping jobs plan dubbed America Works.

The plan involved Underwood's declaring that soaring unemployment created a state of emergency, which let him tap into the coffers of the Federal Emergency Management Agency to provide jobs for out-of-work Americans.

Not saying Mayor Tony Yarber is Frank Underwood, but I wouldn't be surprised if HOC has been marathon-streaming on the Yarber family Roku in the past few weeks considering the announcement Yarber made this afternoon.

During a press conference in his office, Yarber, said that his administration has been "talking out loud as a team about declaring a state of emergency" for the city's infrastructure woes.

"Over the last 24 hours, we've seen more breaks than we'd like to see in our water mains," Yarber said.

The declaration enables the city "to use a different form of procurement in order to get the supplies and resources we need," the mayor added.

The winter weather and heavy rains of the past few weeks likely caused shifts in the soils that created potholes and weakened already brittle and deteriorating underground pipes.

Yarber stressed the quality of the water coming out of the city's water-treatment plant remains high, but some residents might see boil-water notices, which the city is legally required to issue when busted pipes cause drops in water pressure. The Red Cross and Salvation Army could be called upon to provide bottled water to area dormitories for students who cannot boil their water, Yarber said.

Yarber added that Gov. Phil Bryant and the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality support the declaration.

Council President De'Keither Stamps said he and his fellow council members are getting up to speed on the emergency-declaration processes.

"If the governor is supporting this, they've obviously identified resources," Stamps told the Jackson Free Press.

In recent weeks, the city council has expressed frustration with Yarber for not providing final budget numbers for fiscal-year 2013-2014 so that budget writers have a clear picture of the city's fiscal health.

Council Vice-President Melvin Priester Jr., who presides over the council's Budget Committee, said Yarber's declaration put the city in unchartered territory and he wants to see the details of the plan.

"If you can declare an emergency about aging infrastructure when there hasn’t been a tornado or hurricane or breakdown at the water-treatment plant, and magically be able to draw from a big pool of money with no strings attached, every municipality in Mississippi would have done it," Priester said.


March 18, 2015

Lt. Gov. Reeves Blasts Dems for Blocking GOP Tax Breaks

By R.L. Nave

The following is a press release from the office of Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves:

JACKSON – One day after nearly half of Senate Democrats joined all Senate Republicans in passing the largest tax cut in state history, House Democrats voted almost unanimously to kill the same bill.

“Fifty-two House Democrats believe they can spend your money better than the 1.23 million Mississippians that this bill would have benefited,” Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves said. “The Senate passed this bill in a large, bipartisan vote in an effort to simplify the tax code and encourage long-term economic growth. Hopefully, a few House Democrats will hear the cries of the people back home that need a little more money in their pockets to provide for their families.”

On Tuesday, the Senate voted 40-11 to amend House Bill 1629 to include additional income tax cuts proposed by Speaker Philip Gunn plus relief for small businesses proposed under Lt. Gov. Reeves’ Taxpayer Pay Raise Act.

The $555 million tax relief plan earned praise from Americans for Tax Reform. It would have:

· Eliminated the 3 percent and 4 percent tax brackets levied on income, · Reduced the overall tax burden on small business owners, and · Removed the investment penalty, or franchise tax, on businesses’ property and capital.

Eliminating the franchise tax alone would have grown the state’s GDP by $282 million and added 3,514 jobs within 10 years, according to a Mississippi State University study.

February 27, 2015

Whitwell is In for MS01 Congress Race

By R.L. Nave

Former Jackson Ward 1 City Councilman Quentin Whitwell will run for the seat left vacant by the recent death of U.S. Rep. Alan Nunnelee.

He wrote on Facebook: "With the outpouring of support and the blessing from my family, I am pleased to announce that I am running for US Congress. As a native of Southaven and current Oxford resident, I am ready to run a strong campaign. My business background and legal training distinguishes my candidacy from the field. I hope you will join me in fighting to bring America back to its finest moment!"

Whitwell left the Jackson City Council in October to move back to Oxford so that his son could be trained under tennis coaches at the University of Mississippi.

February 26, 2015

Joce Pritchett, Cristen Hemmins to Take Aim at GOP Incumbents

By R.L. Nave

Well-known in progressive political circles, Cristen Hemmins and Joce Prtichett today announced that they would run for elected office.

In 2012, Jackson Free Press readers opined that Hemmins should seek public office. Hemmins, chairwoman of the Lafayette County Democratic Party, will challenge state Sen. Gray Tollison, R-Oxford, for the Senate seat he has held since 1996. Tollison, a one-time Democrat who switched over to the GOP in 2012, had been eyeing late U.S. Rep. Alan Nunnelee's House seat but announced this week that he wouldn't run for Congress.

Joce Pritchett, an engineer who lives in Jackson with her wife, Carla Webb, and their children will make an announcement Friday at the Capitol that she will run for state auditor. So far, two Republicans have announced intentions to run, incumbent Stacey Pickering and Madison Mayor Mary Hawkins Butler. Charles E. Graham has also said he would run as a Democrat; Pritchett did not indicate which party primary she would run in.

Pritchett and Webb are plaintiffs in a federal lawsuit challenging Mississippi's same-sex marriage ban. That case is pending in a federal appeals court.

February 24, 2015

Familiar Jackson Faces Still Lining Up for State Democratic Primary

By R.L. Nave

Ahead of the Friday deadline to qualify for state and county offices, several Jacksonians have qualified as Democrats in several races. That includes some old faces from local politics trying their hands at new, higher seats.

Bruce Burton of Jackson has qualified to run for the Central District seat on the Public Service Commission; Democratic state Rep. Cecil Brown has been actively campaigning for the seat for months.

Robert Amos, who has run for Jackson City Council and mayor, will compete for the Mississippi Department of Transportation's Central District post.

Democratic Party records show that Stan Alexander, a former Hinds County prosecutor now with the attorney general's office, has qualified to seek the Hinds County district attorney's seat. DA Robert Smith as of this morning has not qualified for reelection, party information shows.

Plavise Patterson, a businesswoman and community activist who ran for Jackson city council's Ward 5 in 2013, has qualified to run in Mississippi House District 69 along with incumbent Alyce Clarke. Corinthian Sanders, another perennial name on local ballots, will run for House District 72 against incumbent Kimberly Campbell.

And Charles E. Graham of Jackson qualified to contend for state auditor in the Democratic primary as well. Republicans in that race include incumbent Stacey Pickering and Madison Mary Hawkins Butler.

February 13, 2015

City: Public Works Director Orders Temporary Halt to New Water Meter Installations

By R.L. Nave

From the office of Mayor Tony Yarber:

City of Jackson Public Works Director Kishia Powell has issued a stop work order to Siemens, halting the installation of new city water meters. Powell also postponed the start of a new online billing system that was set to go-live this weekend.

The action comes after the discovery that Siemens had installed at least seven meters that were not configured to properly measure water usage, resulting in unusually high water bills. A review found that the company had installed gallon meters. The city measures water usage in cubic feet. Those meters have been changed out and adjustments are being made to the customers’ accounts.

The company must provide the city with an approved corrective action plan before installation work can resume. Siemens was awarded a $90 million contract in 2012 to install a new water meter system in Jackson.

A media availability with Powell is scheduled for 1 p.m. Friday, Feb. 13, in the Mayor’s Ceremonial Office at City Hall.

The city has been responding to customer complaints about higher water bills. In many cases, higher bills result from a more accurate reading of properly installed meters.

“While we believe there may be other gallon meters in the system that are contributing to the high bills, it has been found that some of the high bills have stemmed from leaks on private property,” Powell said. “Once those leaks are identified and fixed, adjustments are made to the accounts.”

Customers with questions about their bills are asked to contact the Water and Sewer Business Administration at 601-960-2000.

February 5, 2015

Jarvis Dortch to Run for House Seat

By R.L. Nave

Jarvis Dortch, a health-policy expert and advocate, said today that he will run for the Mississippi House of Representatives.

"There are a number of policy concerns that I hope to address during this campaign. Our state's failures in healthcare, education, and wages are all issues that keep too many Mississippians in poverty," Dortch, who is running as a Democrat, wrote in the announcement.

"To be completely honest, many of our local legislators are not doing the job of engaging the public and truly representing our needs. Our problem isn't that we have poor people that aren't working hard, but we have poor leadership working against them."

Dortch is competing in District 66, which Democratic Rep. Cecil Brown now serves. In the last round of redistricting, however, Brown's district was combined with that of Republican Rep. Bill Denny. Brown is running for Public Service Commissioner from the Central District. The new District 66 serves south Jackson, Byram, Terry, Raymond and Utica.

"Unless you have your own personal lobbyist, the game is rigged against you. And there are way too many legislators willing to play the game. I'm not naive but I'm also not so cynical that I don't believe it's worth fighting for change," Dortch wrote.

A previous version of this story misstated that Jarvis Dortch is running against Rep. Bill Denny, R-Jackson.


December 16, 2014

Jackson Advocate: Kenny Stokes Going After His Old Ward 3 Council Seat After All

By R.L. Nave

Tonight, the Jackson City Council is scheduled to discuss a date for a special election to replace former Ward 3 Councilwoman LaRita Cooper-Stokes, who will be heading to the county's judges' bench.

The Jackson Advocate, one of two local newspapers highlighting news of interest to the African-American community, reported that Cooper-Stokes' husband, Kenneth Stokes, will indeed run to recapture the Ward 3 seat he held until 2011.

There had been wide speculation that Kenny Stokes, who represents District 5 on the Hinds County Board of Supervisors, would run for his old seat after having his power on the board greatly reduced in the past year.

Stokes, whose mother recently passed away, told the Advocate that he wanted to keep the seat in the family because of such traditions in the near-west-side ward, such as the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. celebration. His mother blessed the decision before her death, he said.

"We've got to continue taking to the streets to encourage people to stop the violence. And it's not a little thing that they can't afford to to pay their water bills. Our people are struggling just to get by," Stokes told the Advocate.

With a Stokes get-out-the-vote machine that should be studied in political sciences, the announcement is likely to make Kenny Stokes the front-runner in the field.

Albert Wilson, who ran for the seat in 2013 and competed in the special election for mayor this year, reportedly already has campaign signs up.

Another question mark is Pam Greer, the founder of a nonprofit that promotes violence prevention and supports families of violent-crime victims. Greer also ran for the Ward 3 post in 2013 and has remained a vocal critic of city government on social media. She told the Jackson Free Press that is fasting and would make up her mind when the fast concludes.

Going back to the referendum on the 1-percent sales tax, 11 elections have taken place somewhere in the city of Jackson, since January 2013.

December 15, 2014

Hinds GOP Plays 'Obama Card' Against Carson in Ward 1 Race

By R.L. Nave

A mailer is going around northeast Jackson attempting to link Dorsey Carson, a Ward 1 Jackson City Council candidate, to President Barack Obama.

Obama, an African American Democrat, is very unpopular among Mississippi Republicans.

The mailer, reportedly produced by the Hinds County Republican Party, depicts a photoshopped Obama with his arm around Carson even though the color of the president's hands in the photo don't match.

The Ward 1 race concludes with a runoff between Carson and Republican investment manager Ashby Foote tomorrow, Dec. 16, and is officially nonpartisan. Carson is a Democrat who contributed to Obama's election campaign and ran for the state Legislature as a Democrat, both facts that the direct mailer point out.

The push card also claims that Carson "criticized Mississippi to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder" over the state's redistricting plan. In addition, the flyer purports that Carson donated $500 to former Congressman Travis Childers over Sen. Thad Cochran in the recent U.S. Senate race.


December 11, 2014

LaRita Cooper-Stokes Resigns. What's Next for Ward 3?

By R.L. Nave

As expected, Ward 3 Councilwoman LaRita Cooper-Stokes last night tendered her resignation from the Jackson City Council to take a seat on the bench as a county judge.

Cooper-Stokes' departure makes the second mid-term resignation of a sitting council member in less than four months. In August, Ward 1 Councilman Quentin Whitwell left unexpectedly to move his family to Oxford. Whitwell's replacement will be determined by a runoff on Dec.16 between attorney Dorsey Carson and investment advisor Ashby Foote.

Now that Cooper-Stokes has officially vacated the seat, the currently five-member council will have to set a special election for Ward 3, which could happen as early as the next regular meeting on Tuesday Dec. 16, the day of the Ward 1 runoff.

Ward 3's special election could prove very entertaining.

Albert Wilson, who ran for the seat in 2013 and competed in the special election for mayor this year, reportedly already has campaign signs up.

Another question mark is Pam Greer, the founder of a nonprofit that promotes violence prevention and supports families of violent-crime victims. Greer also ran for the Ward 3 post in 2013 and has remained a vocal critic of city government on social media.

The most interesting possibility is that Cooper-Stokes' husband, Hinds County District 5 Supervisor Kenneth Stokes could seek his old seat. Stokes held the seat until he joined the county board in 2011; Cooper-Stokes replaced him in 2012 after a contentious special election that wound up in court. Stokes hasn't been very happy on the relatively quiet county board lately and could want to go back the higher profile city council.

Going back to the referendum on the 1-percent sales tax, 11 elections have taken place somewhere in the city of Jackson, since January 2013.

November 13, 2014

Roger Wicker to Lead NRSC, but For How Long?

By R.L. Nave

U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, the junior senator from Mississippi, will now be in charge of keeping the Republican's newly won majority in the upper chamber of Congress.

Senate Republicans, who will hold a majority for the first time since 2006, picked Wicker over Sen. Dean Heller of Nevada, the home state of the outgoing Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, to lead the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

“I am thankful for the confidence and the support of my colleagues,” Wicker said in a statement released Thursday from his office. “I intend to roll up my sleeves immediately to ensure that we have the resources available to preserve our Republican majority. This Senate Republican leadership team is ready to go to bat for the American people, and I am proud to be a part of it.”

The role of the NRSC came into play during the Republican Senate primary in Mississippi this year. A media-buying firm that placed racially charged ads for a pro-Thad Cochran super PAC, All Citizens for Mississippi, was also used by the National Republican Senatorial Committee. Some members of the Republican party, including U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, cried foul arguing that the NRSC should remain neutral in primary contests. Cochran went on to defeat his opponent, state Sen. Chris McDaniel of Laurel, in a run off and went on to win a seventh term in the general election.

By all accounts, Wicker will have his work cut out for him to keep the Senate from slipping back into the hands of Democrats in 2016 when several Republican seats are up for grabs in states where President Obama has done well the past two cycles.

If Democrats field a strong presidential candidate who can excite the base, Wicker's chairmanship could be short-lived.

November 10, 2014 | 1 comment

Reeves, Bryant Giving McCrory Donations to Charity

By R.L. Nave

Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves will make a donation to a Mississippi charity in the amount his political campaign received from indicted Rankin County businessman Cecil McCrory.

McCrory was indicted last week along with former Mississippi Department of Corrections Commissioner Christopher Epps in an alleged bribery and kickback scheme.

A former Rankin County Republican lawmaker turned businessman specializing in corrections consulting, McCrory has donated $1,500 to Reeves over the years. Reeves will donate that amount to the Girl Scouts of Greater Mississippi, his office said today. McCrory also contributed at least $1,300 to Gov. Phil Bryant, who told the Associated Press that he would give that sum to the Salvation Army.

Several other Republican elected officials have received similar donations from McCrory, including Public Service Commissioner Lynn Posey, Transportation Commissioner Dick Hall, Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney. Former Gov. Haley Barbour and former Lt. Gov. Amy Tuck also received contributions from McCrory as well.

A search of state campaign-finance records show that Epps made two contributions totaling $225 to Gov. Ronnie Musgrove, who appointed Epps to MDOC's top post in 2003.

November 4, 2014

5 Things I Wonder About this Election Day

By R.L. Nave
  1. What happened to Thad Cochran's black-vote turnout machine?

After the incumbent made it into a runoff against state Sen. Chris McDaniel, Cochran's campaign launched an all-out blitz aimed at getting African Americans who did not participate in the Democratic primary to vote in the GOP runoff. It worked then. But with the exception of a poorly attended rally in downtown Jackson and some ads in the Mississippi Link, Cochran isn't going as hard for blacks to show up at the polls today. Makes you go hmmmmm.

  1. What was Travis Childers thinking?

When he talked at the Neshoba County fair this summer about raising the minimum wage, equal pay for women and expanding health-care access, I thought those were solid populist issues that could appeal to traditional Democratic voters—blacks, women and young folks—as well as blue-collar whites. All he really needed to do was to go around the state hammering those three talking points into the heads of sensible people who'd tuned out the Cochran-McDaniel legal shenanigans. Childers didn't even need much money to do that. And as a successful businessman, could have driven around the state on his dime. Instead, he remained silent; his campaign ignored interview requests from reporters. And when it became clear that his opponent would be Cochran, all Childers wanted to do was talk about debates, which almost never works.

  1. Could there be a tea party 'Bradley Effect'?

When Tom Bradley, the first black mayor of Los Angeles, ran for governor of California in the 1980s, some polling organizations projected that he would win. After he lost, narrowly, the term "Bradley effect" came to describe where people tell polltakers they will support a minority candidate because it seems politically correct, but then vote for the white candidate in the booth. A lot of McDaniel supporters claims they won't vote for Cochran under any circumstance and are looking at Childers as viable alternative. I wonder, though, if we'll see some version of the Bradley Effect, where tea-partiers vote for the Republican Cochran, but tell people they cast a protest vote for Childers or another candidate.

  1. Why is Chuck C. Johnson so quiet?

Remember when Johnson, a California-based blogger, blew into Mississippi and got the whole state all a-twitter during the Republican Senate primary? Remember how local media spent weeks chasing anti-Cochran "stories" that Johnson broke on his website. Apparently, Johnson got bored with us and headed up to Ferguson, Mo., to write about the protests surrounding the shooting death of 18-year-old Mike Brown. After that, he got really interested in Ebola. So interested in fact that he was booted from Twitter for publishing the home address of a nurse who had worked with an Ebola patient. Considering his heavy involvement—some might even say influence—in #mssen, it's a mystery why has yet to weigh in McDaniel's once-and-for-all defeat at the Mississippi Supreme Court.

  1. Maybe Blacks should just vote in GOP primaries from now on

If Thad Cochran returns ...


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