State and national Democrats encouraged by Doug Jones’ win over Republican Roy Moore in Alabama special election
One of the current political rumors making the rounds as 2017 draws to a close is Northern District Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley will enter the 2018 contest for the seat currently held by Republican U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker. If Presley gets in the race, it will not really be because he is taking on Wicker but would run in the event Wicker is upset by state Sen. Chris McDaniel in the GOP primary. It’s never been a secret Presley has bigger ambitions for higher office and would like to run for statewide office. His statewide political liabilities are pretty obvious. Presley, despite serving as one of three public service commissioners since 2008, is not well known outside of North Mississippi. It is also a very valid question if Presley, especially within Mississippi, can raise the vast amount of money needed for a statewide race. The reason for a possible candidacy is obvious besides his own ambition. Democrat Doug Jones’ victory over Republican Roy Moore in Alabama has made both national and Mississippi Democrats giddy over possible inroads into the strongly Republican south. However, it is easy to dismiss some of the Democrats’ glee of the Jones victory. The narrow win by Jones was not the result of a rapid increase in anti-Republican feelings or anti-Trump backlash in a state Trump won by 63 percent. Roy Moore lost a very narrow race to Jones because Moore was a terrible candidate. In the past I have used the word “wacko” to describe some left-wing Democrats, but the wacko description certainly fits Republican Moore to a T. If Democrats were to pick an ideal Republican candidate to oppose, in any state, Moore would be the winner in a landslide. The Democrat scenario in Mississippi is pretty obvious. McDaniel beats Wicker in the GOP primary with Presley ready for McDaniel next November – a Mississippi version of Alabama’s Jones versus Moore. If McDaniel were to upset Wicker in a primary, he almost defeated Cochran in a close and bitter primary in 2014, there’s no doubt in a contest with Presley, McDaniel would be taking shots not only from Democrats, but from the state’s left leaning press and the so-called establishment Republicans who supported Wicker. However, whatever you think of McDaniel, he’s not a Roy Moore. McDaniel’s negatives, while many, would never approach the negatives associated with Moore. The flip side is Wicker is leaving nothing to chance. He has a ton of campaign cash to spend and is making all the textbook moves needed to ward off a challenger. He has embraced President Trump and will have a first rate team as campaign consultants. On the negative side, Wicker’s strong embrace of changing the current state flag with its Confederate emblem will not be popular with a significant number of Mississippians who will vote in a Republican primary. Wicker cannot be encouraged by a recent poll that showed him with very mediocre approval ratings in the state. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell could be hung around Wicker’s neck. While many state Republicans are not fans of the Steve Bannon, Tea Party and other Republicans who often seem to attack Republicans
more than Democrats, there are others who do not look favorably on what they consider the establishment Republicans who are part of the swamp in Washington. And finally, I’m not sure how much this counts for, but Wicker, even among supporters from his early days in Congress to now, has never left the impression of being a loveable character.
Sometimes a political loss came be a future positive
Could Presley lose to Wicker, or even McDaniel, and find a plus to take away from his senatorial campaign? I certainly think he could. Presley could run a clean, impressive race and still lose but would certainly improve his statewide name recognition and standing with voters for a future race.
Best restaurant in Mississippi? You’ve got to be kidding
Magazines, other publications and some other organizations frequently have their “best of” selections – best lawyer under 40, best left-handed cab driver and on and on. Usually, the main motive, besides inflating the egos of winners and enhancing their reputation or business, is for the publication to sell advertising to the winners or even have a profit making dinner which sells tables, etc. to the honorees. The Mississippi Business Journal recently had the “best of” winner in the restaurant category as Bravo in Jackson. Bravo is a good restaurant, and I have had lunch or dinner there many times. But does anyone really think Bravo compares in any way to Mary Mahoney’s in Biloxi? I’m sure readers of the WeidieReport could name many other fine restaurants in the state they would rate higher than Bravo.