What has been rumored for months was officially confirmed last week when President Donald Trump, as recommended by U.S. Senators Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker, announced his nomination of Mike Hurst as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Mississippi. Trump also announced the nomination of Chad Lamar as U.S. Attorney for the Northern District. I do not know Lamar except for the fact he is highly regarded. I do know Hurst, and I think he will make an excellent U.S. Attorney. I first met Hurst when he served as a top aide to then Congressman Chip Pickering. Hurst left Pickering’s office and became an assistant U.S. Attorney in Jackson. He handled several high profile corruption cases before resigning to run as the Republican nominee for attorney general against Democrat incumbent Jim Hood. Hurst lost that contest but made a good race. In 2019, many expect Hood not to seek another term or run for governor. Hurst was again mentioned as a probable candidate to succeed Hood. In many ways I think Hurst can do more for our state as a U.S. Attorney than he could as state attorney general.
Is Hurst a persecutor or a prosecutor?
Many weeks ago when Hurst was mentioned as a prime candidate for U.S. Attorney for the Southern District, I smiled when I was told one prominent state Republican, opposed to Hurst being nominated, said Hurst was more of a “persecutor” than a prosecutor when he
I admire politicians who have strong convictions. Purity in politics is another matter. Political purity means nothing if it causes a candidate to be defeated and even worse, to have no chance for victory. A favorite derogatory term of ultra-conservatives is to call someone a RINO (Republican In Name Only). I will sidetrack for a minute to recall one of my favorite RINO stories.
The late Mayor Ken Combs of Gulfport was one of my favorite people. Early one morning I received a call from a businessman who did a lot of business with the City of Gulfport. He was a friend of Combs, but also had a good relationship with several of the city councilman. Combs was a three-term mayor of Gulfport, a very likeable man, and served the Gulf Coast city well. “Did you hear, ” the businessman asked, “last night Ken called one of the council members a wino?” I commented he had called one of his Republican councilman a RINO, not a wino. RINO is a term we are hearing more often these days. You mostly hear it coming from ultra-conservatives who spend more time attacking fellow Republicans than Democrats. Next year’s presidential election is very critical for Republicans. They have majorities in both the Senate and House, but with Democrat Barack Obama or another Democrat in the White House, the Republican agenda won’t get very far.
For me personally, the most important reason for having a Republican president in the White House is conservative appointments to the U.S. Supreme Court. As far as a death wish, that would be the case if someone like Donald Trump got the GOP nomination for president. If he did, which I think and hope he won’t, Democrats will be dancing in the streets. Recently I noted that another Republican contender, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, showed that having graduated from Princeton and Harvard Law School with honors doesn’t keep someone from being a whack job. Being a billionaire like Trump certainly proves success in business and having a lot of money does not make someone qualified to be president. To me it is a little scary that right now Trump is polling higher than other Republican contenders and almost one in every five Republicans favors Trump.