Tagged: Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves

The statewide elections must be soon

No, it’s just the money rush by legislators to tap lobbyists and other special interests in Jackson

While the casual observer may not be taking notice, political types in Mississippi might not be faulted if they think the next statewide and legislative elections are right around the corner. The statewide primaries and general elections are more than a year and a half away, but you would not know that if you are paying attention to the fast and furious political fundraising events that are being held in Jackson at various venues. Candidates for statewide office, incumbents and would be statewide candidates, seldom slow down in their efforts to raise money. It is a fact of political life and something any serious candidate who is not spending his own money must do. What has been amazing in recent months is the almost non-stop fundraising by incumbent state legislators. One lobbyist rolled his eyes when talking about it and another commented, “They (legislators) are wearing me out.” There are several reasons for this fast and furious fundraising. First note most of it is taking place in Jackson, not in the home districts of the legislators. Jackson is the gold mine of lobbyists and other special interests for legislative candidates. The most obvious reason for the fundraising rush, of course, is when an incumbent state legislator builds up a huge campaign war chest, it discourages possible opponents. Another obvious reason is legislators see non-stop fundraising by their legislative colleagues. The last push for campaign fundraisers comes from the hired guns, professional campaign fundraisers who usually get a healthy percentage of the money they raise for the candidate. Unlike political fundraisers for congressional candidates in Washington, D.C., there are even a couple of Mississippi lobbyists who have had no qualms raising money for both Republicans and Democrats. And there’s another perception about lobbying the U.S. Congress and the Mississippi Legislature that might surprise some people. The press and other so-called good government organizations most often paint D.C. lobbyists and the cash they dole out as soldiers of the evil empire. More often than not, political action committees and other campaign contributions flows to Senate and House members whose voting record reflects the interests of those organizations. Too often in Mississippi the reverse in true. Money usually flow to legislators and many votes on various issues is reflected in the lobbyist and special interest contributions.

Gulfport Mayor Billy Hewes would be very serious primary opponent for Congressman Steven Palazzo, but ……..

An often discussed political rumor in Mississippi is that highly regarded Gulfport Mayor Billy Hewes might make a primary challenge to incumbent U.S. Rep. Steven Palazzo of Biloxi. Some speculate Hewes will oppose Palazzo in 2018. Others suggest Hewes

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“Ten Percenters” help drive the campaign fundraiser train

The next local, legislative and statewide elections are not until 2019, but the train to raise campaign funds never slows down. Each week many current elected officials have numerous campaign events. It is expected candidates for statewide elected office, incumbents or others with statewide ambition, never slow their efforts to raise money. Most of the events for incumbent state legislators are held in Jackson. These events are not so the good folks back home can contribute to help their political friends or good candidates for legislative office get elected. Legislators from all over the state have campaign events in Jackson so they can tap the pockets of lobbyists and other special interest groups. There are several things that drive these events, even though the primaries are almost three years away and the 2019 general election is even further in the distance. One reason is more than a handful of legislators have ambition to run for statewide office. Even those who just plan to seek re-election to the legislature want to build a big war chest to discourage potential opponents. More important to some incumbent legislators is the fact that under our state’s pathetic campaign finance laws, elected officials frequently use their campaign contributions for personal, non-campaign related expenses. This unethical practice has been well documented by numerous articles written by Clarion.Ledger political editor Geoff Pender and others who write for that newspaper. Even if an elected official spends his or her campaign funds for personal expenses, under current state law all they have to do is report that part of their spending on their taxes as personal income. It would not be a stretch to say a lot of that personal spending is not properly reported when these elected officials file their federal income tax returns. The fourth reason for the endless off-year campaign fundraising events is what I will call the “ten percenters.” These are individuals and firms who make their living, or part of their living, as professional

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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

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After the State Flag, What’s Next?

The Alexandria (VA) City Council has voted unanimously to ban the Confederate Flag. While the boyhood home of Robert E. Lee is located in the heart of Alexandria, the Confederate Flag will no longer be raised on Lee’s birthday and Confederate Memorial Day. Even more important, the city council created a citizens committee to consider renaming 33 streets in the city that are named after Confederate military leaders as well as one public elementary school. During the 19 years I lived in the Washington, D.C. area, nine of those years I lived in Alexandria. Alexandria, Arlington and most of Northern Virginia is as different from the rest of Virginia as Mississippi is from California. Alexandria is a very liberal city. In almost any way, politically, it would be comparable to living in Boston, New York  City or San Francisco. One of the two main thoroughfares running through the middle of Alexandria is named Jeff Davis Highway (U.S. Hwy. 1). I should remember to mention that a portrait of Robert E. Lee hangs in the Alexandria council chamber. If the city council decides to change the name of Jeff Davis Highway, 32 other streets in the city and the elementary school that are named after Confederate leaders, it is not far from what the mayor of New Orleans wants to do. Mitch Landrieu wants to tear down one of the historic landmarks in that city – the 60 foot high column and statue of Robert E. Lee that is known as Lee Circle on another historic street, St. Charles Avenue. If the Mississippi Legislature or another statewide vote is held to change the state flag, it is reasonable to ask what might come next. There are a lot of other things in Mississippi for those who are offended by anything having to do with the Confederate States of America and the Civil War:

+ Jefferson Davis County is named for guess who?

+ Lee County, where Tupelo is located, was named after General Lee.

+ Forrest County where Hattiesburg and the University of Southern Mississippi are located, was named after Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest. Besides being one of the CSA’s great cavalry leaders, after the war Forrest was an original member of the Ku Klux Klan.

+ The first president of Mississippi University was renowned Confederate Gen. Stephen  D. Lee. A historic building on the MSU campus is Lee Hall. It currently is the building that houses the office of MSU President Mark Keenum and other MSU administrators.

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Fast and Loose With “Worked for Former U.S. Sen. John Stennis”

Another left-of-center writer, David Dallas of the Mississippi Business Journal, has jumped on the bandwagon to change the state flag. Along the way in his column, Dallas also takes cheap shots at Lt. Governor Tate Reeves. Perhaps we should review Dallas’ own credentials. At the end of each column he writes for the MBJ, the publication notes that Dallas “worked for former U.S. Sen. John Stennis.” Just as there is truth in lending and truth in advertising, there should be truth in journalism credentials. As someone who worked on a congressional staff for 14 years, I would argue that if you worked for a U.S. Senator that means you worked on his personal Senate staff, his staff in the state or even his committee staff since Stennis was chairman of two powerful committees. You could even stretch working for Stennis to being on his campaign staff for one of his re-election campaigns. In fact, Dallas’ so-called “work” for Stennis came after Stennis had retired and was living back in Starkville. Dallas, who also worked at the Stennis Institute, was paid by Mississippi State University. As a graduate student at MSU, Dallas and two other State students took care of Stennis 24 hours per day. Stennis was in very poor health after he retired and before he died. Dallas and the others drove Stennis to his home in Starkville provided by MSU, drove him to church, took him to Stennis’ hometown of DeKalb, pushed his wheelchair and was generally a personal assistant to Stennis.

Calls Lt. Gov. Reeves “Tater” 12 times

In his recent column about the state flag, Dallas called Lt. Gov. Reeves “Tater” 12 times. That’s pretty disrespectful and tacky, at best. In praising House Speaker Phillip Gunn as “courageous to a point” for Gunn supporting Mississippi changing the state flag. He notes that Gunn is “sincere enough with his Christian love and faith.” Is that a suggestion that those on the other side of the issue cannot have Christian love and faith? Dallas adds that the “hate-base” has been the backbone of the Mississippi Republican Party. Evidently Dallas’ graduate education did not teach him that the South’s most racist governors, Ross Barnett (Miss.), George Wallace (Ala), Lester Maddox (Ga) and Orval Faubus (Ark) were

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