Like NASCAR, Mississippi politics has its “Silly Season”

NASCAR stock car racing has its annual “Silly Season” following that final race of the season at Homestead, Florida and the grand opening of the next season in February with the Daytona 500. NASCAR rumors fly left and right about drivers changing teams, changing sponsors, changing crew chiefs and even the paint schemes being changed. Mississippi has a similar political “silly season.” Everyone has accepted the fact that our next statewide elections, while three years away, will be a real political shootout. There’s been an assumption that only one of Mississippi’s eight statewide elected officials will seek re-election. That would be Agriculture Commissioner Cindy Hyde-Smith. Gov. Phil Bryant is term limited, Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves will run for governor, Attorney General Jim Hood will either run against Reeves or retire from public life, State Treasurer Lynn Fitch will be a candidate for attorney general and Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann is expected to run for lieutenant governor. It was widely assumed that Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney, who was 72 when re-elected last year, would not seek another term and that State Auditor Stacey Pickering will not seek re-election. The leading silly political rumor is that the “Never Delbert” or “Anybody But Delbert” crowd is promoting Hyde-Smith to run against Hosemann for LG. You can bet the house that Hyde-Smith will not oppose Hosemann and will instead seek at third term. Despite his statewide popularity there are a number of prominent Republicans who do not care for Hosemann. There could be several reasons. In Jim Hood’s first race for attorney general when his mentor Mike Moore did not seek re-election, Hosemann withdrew as a candidate at the very last minute. It left Republicans with a much weaker candidate to oppose Hood when Hood possibly could have been defeated. Some Republicans were also upset when Hosemann made noises about opposing Sen. Thad Cochran even if Cochran decided to run again as he eventually did. Then, Hosemann did not endear himself to Tate Reeves and Reeves’ supporters. Hosemann reportedly gave some consideration to opposing Reeves last year for re-election or possibly challenging Reeves for governor in 2019. Reeves is known not to take

kindly to anyone having even a little thought to opposing him. Some of Hosemann’s Republican detractors just dislike him personally. But you can make this safe political bet. Hosemann will be an odds on favorite to defeat any potential Republican or Democrat challenger for lieutenant governor. There are a number of highly regarded state legislators who would like to run for statewide office or against Hosemann in three years. Such political folly could be a career ender if they make the mistake of running against Hosemann.

Chaney sends a strong message

When Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney won his third term last year, there was an assumption that Chaney would retire after he completes his current term. Chaney is 73 and he pretty much indicated  his current term would be his last. There is no shortage of Republicans and possibly a few Democrats who would like succeed Chaney as insurance commissioner. Chaney’s 2015 general election opponent, wealthy auto body shop owner, John Mosley of Clinton, appeared ready to make another run and was telling some people Chaney will not run in 2019. The operative words for would-be insurance commissioner candidates is “not yet.” Chaney recently had a very successful fundraiser and made it very clear he intends to seek re-election in three years. The Vicksburg businessman will be very hard to beat. Still, with Chaney and Hyde-Smith planning to run again for their current positions, 2019 will be very interesting with six of the statewide offices having no incumbents candidates for re-election. The political silly season will continue in Mississippi.

A reason Colin Kaepernick should stand for the national anthem

San Francisco 49er quarterback Colin Kaepernick last weekend refused to stand during the pregame playing of the national anthem because he said our nation oppresses African Americans. Kaepernick should stand and honor the playing of the national anthem because the freedoms of this nation, that many died to preserve, tolerate him making a fool of himself.

Capital punishment for the killer of two Catholic nuns in Durant

Through the years I have heard many good arguments both for and against capital punishment for convicted murderers. I personally favor capital punishment. The brutal stabbing death of two nuns who devoted themselves to help people living in one of our nation’s poorest counties shocked not only Mississippians, but made headlines throughout the nation. The alleged killer was quickly captured. Should a convicted killer of two nuns deserve the death penalty any more than someone who is convicted of murdering any other innocent victims? Probably not. But in my book, if the alleged killer is convicted, he deserves the death penalty as much as anyone.

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