Politics Blog


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 ...

October 9, 2014

Ashby Foote in Ward 1 Contest

By R.L. Nave

Ashby Foote sent the following verbatim news release:

Today, Ashby Foote announced his campaign for the Ward 1 Jackson City Council seat vacated by Quintin Whitwell.

“I want to make Jackson stronger: a stronger Jackson economy, better working infrastructure, and safer streets and communities,” said Foote, President of Vector Money Management, an investment advising firm he founded in 1988.

Foote continued:

“This isn’t about political aspirations. I’d never entertained the idea of running for office before now. This is about serving my neighbors and city. I love Jackson. My wife and I have made it our home for thirty years. We want Jackson to succeed and Jacksonians to prosper.”

“Jackson is a great city, but like many cities we face economic, infrastructure and crime challenges and it is not easy to simply shrug one’s shoulders and sit on the sideline. I believe my extensive background in finance and economics can bring value and private sector vision to the decision making process at City Hall.”

“I want Jackson to perform up to its economic potential. That takes leadership at the neighborhood and city level. Strong neighborhoods are crucial building blocks for successful cities. It requires reliable infrastructure. It requires safety for citizens and businesses; crime is an economic killer. But business safety is more than just crime. Jackson must be hospitable to new enterprises looking for places to locate and good neighborhoods and schools for their employees. Businesses want a transparent, limited government that plays by the rule of law the same for everyone; cronyism is an economic wet blanket. We need a city government that focuses on the essential roles of government and does those efficiently while freeing up other areas for free markets and the private sector. This will help city government to live within its means and improve tax rates. Economic capital, intellectual capital, and creative capital flow to where they are well treated and safe. Jackson can be just such a place.”

Foote said he would be rolling out his campaign in coming days and said he looked forward to an active and vigorous campaign.

Ashby Foote is President of Vector Money Management, an independent registered investment advisory firm he founded in 1988. Foote graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1974. He served our country as an artillery officer and in the Army Reserves for over 10 years. Foote is recognized as a leader in economic development and economic growth, having held leadership positions on numerous boards in Mississippi as well as serving as a member of the investment committee for the West Point endowment funds. Ashby and Suzie Foote have been married for 30 years and have four children, Turner, Sarah Ashby, Stuart and Tommy. The Footes are members of Christ United Methodist Church.

October 7, 2014

Charles Barbour Joins Jackson Ward 1 Race

By R.L. Nave

Charles Barbour

September 22, 2014

Richard Sellers Latest Entry to Ward 1 Race

By R.L. Nave

Here is the full, verbatim release on Sellers' candidacy:

Jackson is moving forward, but without strong conservative leadership on Jackson City Council the strides we have made will come to a halt. Jackson must be the thriving capitol city Mississippi deserves. Considering Jackson’s needs, and after much prayer and discussion with local leaders, I am proud to announce my candidacy for the Jackson City Council to represent Ward 1.

Service is an integral part of my life. As a special education teacher in our local public schools I strive to make a difference for each student I teach. As a high school baseball coach I serve my players as a positive role model and mentor. As an officer candidate in the Army National Guard I serve our state and nation by defending our freedom. As a member of our community I feel the same call to serve the city of Jackson.

I grew up in Picayune, MS, in a wonderful Christian home. My parents pushed me to set my goals high and to never give up. I graduated from Mississippi College with a degree in Education, while my wife, Amanda, attended Millsaps College and earned a degree in Biology. Amanda and I married and moved to Blacksburg, Virginia, where she attended medical school at Virginia Tech. Today, Amanda is a physician at UMC, and I am an educator, coach, soldier in the Army National Guard, and lifelong Republican. Amanda, and I own our home in the Heatherton neighborhood of Northeast Jackson and are members of Grace City Church.

There are three major issues I will fight for at city hall. First, I will address crime and public safety. Police Chief Lee Vance needs our support, and I will make sure he has the resources needed to win back the streets of Jackson. Second, I will tirelessly support our public school system. Dr. Cedrick Gray’s leadership in Jackson Public Schools assures me he has a plan for success. With groups like Alignment Jackson helping to fulfill his vision of strong education in our city, I will be an advocate for these changes in our schools’ achievement. Our children must have great schools to help them be successful, and I will make sure we take steps as a city to see JPS succeed. Finally, Jackson must continue to grow its business base. No longer should businesses gravitate to Madison, Flowood, or Pearl instead of making their home in the capital city. These businesses can provide jobs, services, and tax dollars, which are all things our great city must have to grow. I will make sure Jackson is a place for businesses big and small to succeed. I love the city of Jackson and will serve our citizens as a conservative voice on City Council.

Thank you for your interest, and I humbly ask for your support! You can find more information about me and how to join my campaign for a better Jackson at www.electrichardsellers.com, www.facebook.com/ElectSellers, or on Twitter @ElectSellers.

August 25, 2014

Amile Wilson Throws Hat in Jackson Ward 1 Ring

By R.L. Nave

Editor's note: In the interest of full disclosure, Jackson Ward 1 city council candidate Amile Wilson formerly wrote a column and has worked as a freelance photographer for the Jackson Free Press. Dorsey Carson, the other Ward 1 candidate who has officially announced, is an attorney for the JFP. Below is the full, verbatim release from Wilson about his candidacy:

Amile Wilson Announces Campaign for City Council

After much prayer and discussion with friends, family and members of the community, I am proud to announce my candidacy for Jackson City Council Ward 1.
Northeast Jackson has a tradition of sending strong leaders downtown: Dent Anglin, Ben Allen, Jeff Weill, and Quentin Whitwell. They have been a voice of reason and responsibility over the years regardless of who was Mayor. I want to continue that tradition and help Jackson forge a new path with Mayor Tony Yarber.
I am a homeowner and want to protect the value of my home just as you do. We need to empower the homeowner associations to use covenants to protect our neighborhoods as our neighboring cities do. We need to set standards for rental housing in Northeast Jackson as too often such housing lowers property values and brings in more crime.
I am a life-long conservative who has worked with leaders of both parties. Republican, Democrat, Conservative, Liberal, it doesn’t matter. The people expect us to fix the problems and get things done. As the owner of two businesses in Jackson, the city’s prosperity impacts my bottom line just as it does yours. I share Mayor Yarber’s vision to bring businesses back to Jackson and stop taxing small business out of existence. We’ve made a good start with the District at Eastover and the expansion at Highland Village. We need to keep the momentum going and grow Northeast Jackson.
Controlling crime is key to protecting Northeast Jackson. Crime forces families to leave and businesses to move. My home has been robbed and burglarized. Instead of moving, I’m staying and fighting back. We can fight crime. I will work with the Mayor to cut more fat out of the budget so we can put more cops on the street and put judges on the bench who don’t treat bail as a free get out of jail card.
I humbly ask you for your support and your vote. I will be honored to represent Ward 1 and continue the tradition set by those who have held that seat. Together, we can build a better Jackson.


August 8, 2014

WLBT: Quentin Whitwell Retiring Oct. 31

By R.L. Nave

Jackson Ward 1 Councilman Quentin Whitwell will retire this fall, WLBT reports.

Whitwell told WLBT's Cheryl Lasseter today that he would submit a letter of resignation to the city clerk; the resignation would be effective Oct. 31, the station said.

Lasseter: "Whitwell cites family commitments in Oxford and increasing demands from his professional life as reasons for his decision. He tells us he has tremendous respect for the City of Jackson and its leaders, and he believes the city deserves a Ward 1 Councilman who can dedicate maximum time and resources to the position. He is currently in his second term with the City Council."

After he steps down, the city would have to hold a special election to fill his northeast Jackson seat. Ward 3 Councilwoman LaRita Cooper-Stokes is also running for Hinds County judge in the November general election.

Jackson has already held one special election this year to fill the Ward 6 council seat that Tony Yarber vacated when he won election to Jackson mayor.

August 6, 2014

MS GOP Response to McDaniel: Er ... Try Court?

By Todd Stauffer

The Mississippi Republican Party has responded to the McDaniel campaign in the form of a statement to the public and a letter to Chris McDaniel's attorney, Mitch Tyner, from Joe Nosef, MS GOP chairman. (Here's the letter in PDF format.)

The upshot is that the MS GOP is suggesting to Tyner that they go ahead and take their fight to court, in part because the MS GOP's executive committee would only have 24 hours starting Aug 13th (once the requisite seven days notice for a meeting was circulated) to figure out whether it makes sense to overturn a U.S. Senate primary result. That's just one day before McDaniel would be forced by law to go to court on Aug 14th.

So, they're punting. (Which sometimes makes sense on Fourth and Forever.)

Jackson, MS. –– Joe Nosef, Chairman of the Mississippi Republican Party, issued the following statement today regarding a challenge to the results of the June 24th primary runoff and a letter sent today by Chairman Nosef to Mitch Tyner, lawyer for the Chris McDaniel campaign:

"Our 52-member volunteer Republican State Executive Committee has been asked to spend just five hours listening to legal arguments and then overturn a United States Senate primary in which over 360,000 Mississippians cast votes.

It is neither prudent nor possible in a single day for any political committee to process and review the significant amount of complex evidence necessary to make such a decision, and attempting to do so would be prejudicial to both candidates.

Under these circumstances, the only way to ensure that the integrity of the Mississippi Republican Party and our election process remains intact is to have a proper, public review of this matter through the judicial system in a court of law. Both candidates have said they look forward to such a review, and now is the time. "

July 11, 2014

True the Vote Files Affidavits to Support Claims of Fraud in #MSSEN

By R.L. Nave

True the Vote, the Houston—Texas-based pollwatching organization that is suing Mississippi political and government officials over alleged voter suppression—has submitted two affidavits from people to support their claims that the integrity of the June 24 Republican primary for U.S. Senate might have been compromised.

One submitted to TTV by a woman named Susan Morse in Noxubee County claims that a Macon woman participated in the GOP primary after voting in the Democratic primary June 3, which state election laws prohibit.

Another, filed in Harrison County by a man named Phillip C. Harding III, claims that at about 2 p.m. on July 1—one week after the election that U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran beat state Sen. Chris McDaniel, he observed election officials discard ballots.

Harding writes: "In a one of the bins I found a small stack of provisional ballots, unopened. I gave te provisional ballots to an exec committee member who took control of them. I also found absentee ballot bags in several o the supply bins. Some had opened envelopes and applications in the them. I took the applications and envelopes out because I did not know what to do with them, but believed they should be saved. After setting them aside I saw another volunteer dispose of them at executive committee members' direction."

The group filed a motion for a temporary restraining order in U.S. District Court in Jackson late Wednesday against election commissioners in several Mississippi counties, including Hinds County, as well as the state GOP. A teleconference took place this morning at the federal courthouse.

The motion for the TRO detailed the counties it says is not complying with the law: While some counties provided proper voter records, Copiah County, Hinds County, Jefferson Davis County, Lauderdale County, Leake County, Madison County, Rankin County, Simpson County, and Yazoo County refused. These counties, who have been sued via their respective Election Commissions, also wrongfully maintain that the birthdates of voters must be redacted from voter records, at Plaintiffs’ expense."

July 9, 2014 | 2 comments

Missouri GOP Wants To Know if Henry Barbour Is Behind 'Racist' Anti-McDaniel Ads

By Todd Stauffer

In the GOP's continued saga of internecine warfare, there's another front opening in the Battle of Mississippi with a shot coming from... Missouri?

The chairman of the Missouri GOP wants the campaign investigated by the Republican National Committee, according to the Washington Post. The Missouri GOP chair wants the RNC to investigate racially-charged robocalls and ads that appear to have been placed in Canton, Miss., and elsewhere in support of Cochran's run-off bid.

The head of the Missouri Republican Party on Tuesday asked Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus to appoint a task force to investigate what he called “racially divisive ads and robocalls” critical of state Sen. Chris McDaniel in the Republican runoff for U.S. Senate in Mississippi.

Ed Martin, the GOP chair in Missouri, is apparently concerned that Henry Barbour, nephew of former Governor Haley Barbour, may be behind a radio ad that was reported by Britain's Daily Mail.

The Daily Mail story, which offers an in-depth investigation to determine who placed the ads and how, notes that the ads were tagged "paid for by Citizens for Progress," a group that isn't registered with the FEC.

According to the Daily Mail, this same group name had been used previously by Mitzi Bickers, an Atlanta pastor, who, coincidentally, was being paid by Mississippi Conservatives -- a "super PAC" created by Haley Barbour and run by his nephew, Henry Barbour.

The younger Barbour told the Daily Mail he didn't know about the radio ads, although he acknowledged hiring Bickers to run a robocall campaign in the Cochran-McDaniel runoff.

In the radio ad, McDaniel is linked to an "ally" of the KKK, and listeners are warned that a McDaniel victory could mean a loss of government benefits such as food stamps, lunch programs and disaster assistance.

June 25, 2014

Childers Comes Out Swinging Vs. Cochran

By R.L. Nave

Verbatim statement from the Travis Childers campaign:

"One thing is clear tonight; Senator Cochran does not have the confidence of his state, let alone his own party. The majority of Republicans voted for change in Washington. And if we are going to change Washington, we will need to change who we send to Washington.

"The same people will give us the same results of gridlock, and elected officials will continue fighting each other rather than fighting for Mississippians. It is time for a change, and I believe I can best represent the future of Mississippi in the United States Senate.

"I look forward to a spirited debate with Senator Cochran on the many issues facing Mississippi. And I am calling for Senator Cochran to join me in a series of debates beginning next month, so voters can clearly see the differences."

June 21, 2014

Chism Strategies Poll: McDaniel Leads Likely GOP Voters By 8 Points

By Todd Stauffer

Verbatim release from Chism Strategies:

Last night we conducted the final track of our MS Senate GOP runoff surveys. We surveyed 697 voters statewide. The MOE was +/- 3.8%. The survey was restricted to voters from the GOP primary on June 3rd. It does not include potential voters who did not participate in that election.

McDaniel holds an eight point lead among GOP voters who went to the polls on June 3rd and plan to return on Tuesday.

How We See It

Unless Cochran expands the electorate with general election Republicans and crossover Democrats, McDaniel wins.

The electoral math is much closer than the polling. Cochran heads into Tuesday only about 6,200 votes down out of a total of almost 319,000 cast on June 3rd. (We assume the third candidate’s supporters do not migrate to Cochran.)

No Polling Can Measure the Implications of Two Unprecedented Actions in Mississippi Politics

- Surrogates for the 42 year GOP incumbent are groveling for Democrat and union votes in the runoff after his campaign spent millions in the Primary bashing President Obama and his policies. Can Cochran’s team execute their elaborate, expensive GOTV plan?

- Will this pivot to a more centrist message erode his conservative base? Republican office holders have gotten way out ahead of their constituents. Are the establishment Republicans able to bring the rank and file to Cochran? Will there be a backlash from this top down directive?

June 18, 2014

Hendrix and Sweet Head to Ward 6 Runoff

By HaleyFerretti

Tyrone Hendrix and Dennis Sweet IV will be heading for the Ward 6 City Council Election, which is scheduled for July 1.

In yesterday's election, Hendrix came out on top with 546 votes. Sweet was only nine votes behind with 537 votes total. Rashaad Crisler came in third place with 429 votes. The polling results can be viewed in its entirety on the city's website at http://www.jacksonms.gov/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=79.

Hendrix was born and raised in Jackson. He is a longtime Democratic Party operative who helped manage Jonathan Lee's campaign for mayor in 2013 and worked with Regina Quinn during the recent special election for mayor. Before working for Lee last year, Hendrix—who runs a political consulting firm with his wife, Ercilla—was deputy campaign manager for Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny Dupree's 2011 gubernatorial bid.

He was also state director for Organizing for America, a grassroots advocacy group affiliated with the Democratic National Committee, and other community-organizing groups. During the 2009 Jackson mayor's race, Hendrix worked on the campaigns for state Sen. John Horhn in the Democratic primary and Harvey Johnson in the runoff and general election. In 2008, Hendrix worked on Barack Obama's first presidential campaign.

In a recent interview with Jackson Free Press, Hendrix explained what his top priorities would be if he obtained the Ward 6 seat.

"Hands down, in the first few weeks I’ll be going to the residents of Ward 6," Hendrix said. "I think that we can’t get so caught up in what we think the issues are, and I think we have a pretty good sense of what they are because I, personally, go knock on doors and make phone calls every day to residents of Ward 6. But at that particular time I think we’ll have to reinforce what we think the biggest issues are.

"…We also have problems with our children not having a place to go so they walk the street, they stay at home, they get in trouble. They say an idle mind is the devil’s workshop. The saying is often used, but it also applies particularly in Ward 6 because a lot of places have closed down, particularly the parks. The park areas that we have in the ward, if they are open, they are unsightly. It’s not inviting for people to want to come and spend time in that green space, which would be a great place for kids to go."

Sweet works with his father at Sweet & Associates, where the younger Sweet specializes in civil litigation, civil rights, personal injury, medical malpractice, premises liability and criminal defense.

Born in Washington, D.C., and raised in Chicago, Sweet has practiced law in Mississippi since 2008. He has also worked as an adjunct professor and volunteer pre-law adviser for Tougaloo College, where he earned his bachelor's degree in 2004. Sweet attended Thurgood Marshall School of Law, and he received a Master of Laws from the George Washington University Law School in 2011.

In a recent interview with JFP, Sweet talked ...

June 11, 2014

Study: Miss., the South Most Corrupt in Nation

By R.L. Nave

Mississippi may be in the midst of the nation's slimiest political contest, the Republican primary for U.S. Senate.

Now, a new study purports that Mississippi is indeed the crookedest state in the union. Researchers at Indiana University and University of Hong Kong "studied more than 25,000 convictions of public officials for violation of federal corruption laws between 1976 and 2008 as well as patterns in state spending to develop a corruption index that estimates the most and least corrupt states in the union."

The full article is not publicly available, but based on the study's methods, Mississippi tops of the corruption list—surpassing even Illinois where two of the last three governors served time in federal prison on corruption charges—whose Top 10 is full of other southern state:

  1. Mississippi
  2. Louisiana
  3. Tennessee
  4. Illinois
  5. Pennsylvania
  6. Alabama
  7. Alaska
  8. South Dakota
  9. Kentucky
  10. Florida

It should be noted that by some other measures, Mississippi has one of the nation's lowest "corruption risks," thanks to a strong state auditor and insurance commissioner, both of whom are elected in Mississippi, unlike in some other states.

June 9, 2014

Ron Paul Backs Chris McDaniel for #mssen

By R.L. Nave

The campaign of state Sen. Chris McDaniel issued the following statement about McDaniel's latest high-profile endorsement for U.S. Senate:

Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Mississippi today announced he received the endorsement of former U.S. House Representative and presidential candidate Dr. Ron Paul.

"Ron Paul has been an inspiration to so many to become involved in politics and to engage the system, which is exactly what our nation needs at this crucial juncture," McDaniel said. "Dr. Paul is a true champion for civil liberties and opponent of government overreach and out-of-control spending, and I'm very excited to have his endorsement in our fight for liberty in Mississippi," McDaniel concluded.

On his endorsement, Dr. Paul said, "Chris McDaniel has been a fighter in the Mississippi Senate for smaller government and more personal liberties. We need Chris McDaniel in the U.S. Senate and I am proud to endorse his campaign."

McDaniel has been endorsed by a wide array of elected officials and organizations, including , Gary Bauer, Glenn Beck, Laura Ingraham, Mark Levin, Sarah Palin, Rick Santorum, Phyllis Schlafly, American Conservative Union, Club for Growth, Family Research Council, FreedomWorks, Gun Owners of America, Madison Project, National Association for Gun Rights, Senate Conservatives Fund, Tea Party Express, and Tea Party Patriots, Coalition to Reduce Spending, and Young Americans for Liberty.

Chris McDaniel is a constitutional conservative running for United States Senate. He represents District 42 in the Mississippi State Senate in his second term where he fights for individual liberty, free markets and fiscal responsibility in government.

June 5, 2014 | 1 comment

On apathy and not giving a damn: My new column in The Guardian on Senate race

By Donna Ladd

I've been asked a couple times recently by national media to comment on the Senate race between Thad Cochran and Chris McDaniel (and, oh, Travis Childers). I begged out of an MSNBC request a couple weeks ago because I just couldn't get excited to talk about it. But when The Guardian wanted to contract me this past Monday to write a column, I said OK. But my main thought was, "I just don't give a damn." I've watched election after election pass with no candidate for even moderate Mississippians to vote for. Our city and state are brimming with good people who want progress for the state, and we get stuck with the worst candidates, brimming with backward ideas, and told we HAVE to vote for the Democrat among them any way.

Meantime, we watch the Democrats lose over and over again.

I don't want "apathy," as somebody accused on Twitter. I want just the opposite: I want Mississippians to demand better from the candidates then the most reasonable one loving all over the NRA and bashing women's reproductive freedom. We need to demand, at least, that Travis Childers, the Democratic nominee not campaign against our rights, and actually address solutions to health care, povery and other vital 21st-century populist issues. If he wallows in the mud with the wingnuts, it's not ME who is encouraging apathy. It is up to him and the Democratic Party to break that apathy and be inspiring, rather than try to out-conservative the conservatives.

I don't identify with any political party (don't even really like the concept), so perhaps it's easy for me to take this stand in an international newspaper. But the response has been overwhelmingly positive, especially from southerners; my Twitter feed and Facebook post on it are filled with cheers. It's as if everyone wanted to say this, but didn't quite know how to say it out loud. But I said it. Read more here, post under The Guardian piece if you want (many great comments of various positions), and then come on back and talk about it here on southern soil.

The Mississippi primary? Frankly, my dear conservatives, I don't give a damn


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