Tagged: mike hurst

New U.S. Attorney For Southern District – Mike Hurst, An Excellent Choice

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

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Initiative 42 Supporters Quick to Cry “Foul” But They Are the Ones the Ref Needs to Watch

Vote “NO” on Initiative 42

Except for the seriousness of the issue, the actions by supporters of Initiative 42 would almost be laughable. The 42 supporters wrap themselves in a cloak of self-righteousness. You would almost think they are transporting the Holy Grail and any opponents of 42 are nothing more than heathens and barbarians. In a word, passage of 42 would be very bad for Mississippi from several aspects. There are plenty of reasons to oppose 42. The best reasons are in a column last Sunday by Clarion.Ledger political editor Geoff Pender and an earlier syndicated column by Sid Salter. Pender is one of what is unfortunately just a handful of first-rate journalists in Mississippi while Salter, who now has a PR position at Mississippi State, had a long career as one of the state’s very best journalists. Pender, Salter and others have made a solid case against 42. The most publicized debate between a proponent and opponent of 42 came almost two weeks ago before an audience at Capital Press Club sponsored by the Stennis Institute of Government. Speaking in support of 42 was attorney Jim Keith of the Adams and Reese law firm. Opposing 42 was House Speaker Pro-Tem Greg Snowden of Meridian. Despite my bias against 42, I think Rep. Snowden clearly bested Keith in the debate. Keith started his comments by saying he was a conservative Republican. If that is the case, being one of the more public and vocal 42 supporters, Keith has jumped into a political bed with trial lawyers, Democrats and other liberals. Keith also mentioned his friendship with Republican House Speaker Phillip Gunn and other prominent Republican legislative leaders. A few months ago Keith commented to someone, not from Mississippi, that he had breakfast with Speaker Gunn and their relationship was fine. That’s a little odd since at about the same time a North Mississippi newspaper reported comments by Keith saying Gunn and Lt. Governor Tate Reeves are not friends of pubic education. Keith represents the Mississippi School Board Association and many school districts in the state. With his very prominent and visible role supporting 42 and being the lead attorney in a lawsuit against the Mississippi Legislature, it would not be a stretch to speculate that on any legislative matters wanted by Keith and his clients, the issues would be DOA in the Mississippi Senate and probably the House as well.

Mike Hurst within striking distance of upsetting Jim Hood

Other than the vote on Initiative 42, the most closely watched statewide race is Republican Mike Hurst’s challenge of incumbent Jim Hood. While the odds still favor Hood winning

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Will Governor Increase His Campaign Account IRA?

On Oct. 8 Gov. Phil Bryant will host his annual statewide fundraiser in Madison, MS. (It is labeled “statewide”, but he has had many more during his current re-election campaign.)  Contributors have a choice of sponsoring and contributing to The 2015 Victory Fund or to the Friends of Phil Bryant. According to the invitation, Contributions to Victory 2015 will be used to “elect the best conservative leaders for Mississippi’s future.” Contributions to the Friends of Phil Bryant are for Bryant’s re-election campaign. There are a couple of initial impressions. On his most recent campaign finance report filing, Bryant listed $2.8 million cash on hand. I don’t think anyone questions that $2.8 million is enough to handle his November opponent, Democrat Robert Gray. Gray spent zero in his surprising win of the Democrat nomination. Gray, a truck driver, has even received a lot of national publicity for his primary victory. Still, there is no person in Mississippi who seriously thinks the likeable Gray represents any sort of serious challenge to Bryant’s second term. Bryant could probably spend little or nothing of his $2.8 million to turn back Gray’s challenge. The second impression is his Oct. 8 fundraiser will raise contributions for other Republican candidates running for statewide office or to ensure that the GOP remains in control of the Mississippi Senate and House. The obvious statewide race is the campaign for attorney general of Mike Hurst against Democrat incumbent Jim Hood. Hood is the last remaining Democrat to hold statewide office and the contest is the only real competitive race slated for November. To date, Bryant has done little or nothing to help Hurst financially in his challenge to Hood. Contrast this with former Gov. Haley Barbour. During his two campaigns for governor Barbour gave and directed millions of dollars to assist other GOP candidates for statewide office and the legislature. The sponsor levels for Bryant’s statewide event are not modest. The “Chairman” level is $25,000, the “Co-Chairman” level is $10,000 and someone can be listed as a “Host” for a mere $5,000. The cost to attend is $1,000. At this point there is no way to make an educated guess of how many contributors on Oct. 8 will give to the Victory Fund or will elect to contribute to the Friends of Phil Bryant.

There’s a lingering suspicion, even among many Republicans, that Bryant will have a huge cash on hand balance after he is elected to his second term and final four years as governor. Under the state’s current, and very pitiful campaign finance law regulations, Bryant will be allowed to convert any leftover campaign funds to personal use as long as he pays the applicable federal and state income taxes. Thus, many people view his campaign account balance as sort of a campaign contribution IRA. As one veteran Republican told me earlier this week, reporters, at every opportunity, should ask Gov. Bryant if he intends to convert any campaign funds to personal use.

“Black Lives Matter” activists boo and heckle D.C. mayor

National Review magazine reports that murder is way up in the District of Columbia. The new mayor, Muriel Bowser, says she intends to do something about the soaring murder rate and will put more cops on the street in the most violent neighborhoods. At a meeting when she made the announcement, Mayor Bowser was booed and heckled by “Black Lives Matter” activists.

It’s not fantasy sports, it’s fantasy gambling

During the past few weeks, there is hardly a time when I listened to a TV or radio broadcast that I didn’t hear an ad for a fantasy sports website. A small blurb in USA TODAY made it clear.  Combined sum daily fantasy sports websites DraftKing and FanDuel spend $27 million on television ads during the opening week of the NFL season. If you’ve heard or seen the ads, most tell you to pick your sport, pick your team (players) and pick up your cash. Sure, quit your day job and just participate in fantasy sports gambling. In August, Mississippi casinos had $172 million in gaming revenue. It is more accurate to say gamblers lost $172 million at the Gulf Coast and Mississippi River casinos.

 

Will Gov. Bryant Step Up to the Plate for Republican AG Nominee?

In reality, there is only one statewide race that will be competitive this November. That contest is between Republican challenger Mike Hurst and Democrat Attorney General Jim Hood. The seven other incumbent Republicans holding statewide office face only minor Democrat, Reform Party or Libertarian Party opposition. None of those races is expected to produce an upset. Hood easily defeated his Republican opponents in his three previous races for attorney general. Some Republicans feel Hurst could, by far, be Hood’s strongest opponent he has faced. There’s also a feeling Hood could be more politically vulnerable than he was in his previous races. Hurst was highly regarded when he was on the staff of former congressman Chip Pickering, and his reputation was enhanced as an assistant U.S. Attorney until he resigned to become the Republican nominee for AG against Hood. He did not have primary opposition.

Obviously Hurst must raise the necessary money to make a competitive race against Hood. That’s where incumbent Gov. Phil Bryant comes into play. When Bryant was elected governor, he was more or less in the big shadow of his predecessor, Haley Barbour. If Bryant goes full steam politically to support Hurst, he can do something Barbour could not do. Barbour was very successful in making sure that Republicans Al Hopkins in 2007 and Steve Simpson in 2011 had the financial resources to make a strong challenge to Hood. The efforts went for naught. Many Republicans feel if Bryant makes sure Hurst has similar campaign resources like Barbour gave to Hopkins and Simpson, 2015 could result in a different outcome for Hurst and Republicans. At the end of July Bryant had more than $2.8 million cash on hand for the general election against surprise Democrat primary winner Robert Gray. While no politician should ignore any political opponent, if Bryant spends only a fraction of his almost $3 million he will defeat Gray. Contrast this with Haley Barbour. Nobody has ever questioned Barbour’s capacity to raise huge amounts of campaign money, both for his own races and other Republicans.  In 2007 Barbour had a well funded Democrat opponent in John Arthur Eaves. In 2011 term-limited Barbour was

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Memo to Professor George and The Clarion Ledger: It Was Gov. Fordice, Not Gov. “Fordyce”

It is not a scientific survey but my gut feeling is that during recent months The Clarion Ledger’s guest columns, op-eds, etc. have leaned even more toward left field than in the past. The most recent example was a guest column that appeared in the newspaper’s online edition in early June. If the column appeared in the print edition, I did not see it. The article was written by Carol V.R. George. George was identified a research professor of history emerita at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. George has a new book that deals with the murders and struggle for civil rights in Neshoba County. The column also noted George “splits her time in Florida and New York.” In her column, George takes shots at the college board for not extending the contract of Ole Miss Chancellor Dan Jones and essentially adds criticism of Mississippi’s “good ole boy” network, past and present. However, not once, but five times in her column, George refers to Kirk Fordice, who served two terms as governor.  Five times George spells the late governor’s name as “Fordyce.” Before someone who “splits her time in Florida and New York” dispenses advice to Mississippians and comments on state politics and history, I would suggest she correctly spell the now late governor’s name. Which leads to another question about the spelling: Does The Clarion Ledger still employ copy editors?

Did any reporter ask Adrian Shipman who is paying her expense lawyers? It is certainly not Shipman.

Last week the Mississippi Supreme Court heard arguments from the two sides involved in the constitutional amendments dealing with public education that voters will consider next November. Sitting behind the lawyers was the Oxford mother of two children, Adrian Shipman, who is the plaintiff in the case opposing the legislature’s amendment versus the one supported by the Better Schools, Better Jobs organization. The press noted that Shipman spoke to reporters after the hearing. Do you think any of those reporters asked Shipman who is paying the expensive lawyers who are representing her? I think you know the answer to that. The Better Schools, Better Jobs organization has been quick to cry foul about the Mississippi Legislature and other opponents of its constitutional amendment. On the other hand, shouldn’t we know who is Shipman’s real benefactor?
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Gov. Bryant Throws Republican Nominee for AG Under the Bus

AG Hood’s “campaign season lawsuit” endorsed by Gov. Bryant

On April 24, with the header “AG Hood files campaign season lawsuit,” I commented on the recent lawsuit that Democrat Attorney General filed in Hinds County against State Farm. While it has been almost 10 years since Hurricane Katrina, Hood’s suit seeks to recover damages related to the hurricane. State Farm responded that the company had resolved all outstanding issues with Hood following court proceedings in 2007 and 2008. Until the recent lawsuit, over six years later, State Farm officials said they had heard nothing more from Hood. Interesting timing isn’t it? I also said at the time that by filing in Hinds County Circuit Hood had at least a 75 percent chance of success because three of the four circuit court judges in that county lean to the left side of the political spectrum.

Hood’s re-election opponent is former Assistant U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst. Hurst has a fine reputation as a prosecutor of criminal corruption in the state and if he can raise enough money, he could post a serious threat to Hood’s re-election. At the time I also noted State Farm, like most big insurance companies, is a favorite political whipping boy of Democrat candidates. It turns out State Farm is also a political whipping boy of Republican Gov. Phil Bryant. Last week while on the Gulf Coast, Bryant said he supports Hood’s lawsuit against State Farm. Bryant was quoted by Sun Herald reporter Anita Lee as saying he supports “homeowners to have their day in court.” Bryant not only played demagogue with an issue he thought would be popular on the coast, he sandbagged Hurst. While it was not a political endorsement of Hood, the only Democrat statewide elected official, by supporting Hood’s suit against State Farm Bryant undercut Hood’s Republican opponent. Bryant’s action had more than a few Republicans scratching their heads. Most of them feel Bryant doesn’t really care about any other Republicans running for statewide office.

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Chris McDaniel Still a Member of “The World is Flat Club”

McDaniel term limit proposal creates a lot of smiles

Politicians are often the source of amusement. State Sen. Chris McDaniel can always be counted on to be a source. A few days ago, The United Conservatives Fund PAC of McDaniel issued a press release regarding term limits. The organization will seek enough voter signatures for a constitutional amendment in 2016 to limit state legislators and statewide elected officials to two consecutive terms in the same office. Of course, while advocating limiting legislators to two consecutive terms, McDaniel is seeking his third term in the Mississippi Senate. The next day I received more than a few calls and emails from people that were very amused that McDaniel is seeking a third term while advocating term limits. In regards to McDaniel, a lot of us are still waiting for him to concede his defeat by Sen. Thad Cochran and to congratulate his fellow Republican on his re-election to another term in the U.S. Senate. McDaniel’s ego, arrogance, and self-righteousness are never diminished. There will never be term limits for McDaniel in “The World is Flat Club.”

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