The 2011 Players (the Democrats)
As promised yesterday, here is my look at some of the Democrats who figure to be players in the 2011 statewide races (in alphabetical order):
- Bill Luckett: There is little question that he will be running for governor. He is an attorney and business from the Delta and recently started a Democratic fundraising apparatus known as Progress for Mississippi.
- Heather McTeer Hudson: She is currently serving in her second term as the mayor of Greenville. She is in the “up-and-coming” stages of her political career and looks to be a player in the Democratic Party in the future. Does that future begin in 2011?
- Jamie Franks: He is currently the head of the state Democratic Party. He lost to Phil Bryant pretty badly in 2007, and severed several years in the state House before then. He is contemplating another run at the number two job.
- Jim Hood: The most prominent Democrat in the state. He is serving his second term as Attorney General. He hasn’t made any official plans yet, but would be the Democrats best hope to win the governor’s mansion.
- Malcolm McMillin: He is the Hinds County Sherriff. He has been rumored as a potential candidate for lt. governor, but that may be more talk then anything else.
- Mike Moore: Anytime there is a race in Mississippi, his name will always come up on the Democratic side. The former AG was considered one of the most popular politicians in the state during his time- but what do people think of him now? By 2011, it will have been 12 years since voters last checked his name off at the ballot. Passing on the open Senate seat in 2008 may have been the best indicator that his political career is over.
Blast from the past:
- Gary Anderson: He was once thought of as a rising star in the Democratic party, but he has lost consecutive statewide races in 2003 (treasurer) and 2007 (insurance commissioner). Third times the charm? I would be shocked but with such a small bench to play with he could be a player.
- Ray Mabus: The former governor took a hard fall after he lost to Kirk Fordice in 1991 but has had a bit of an image makeover recently. He is now serving as Secretary of the Navy in the Obama administration. He was also a strong supporter of Obama in 2008. Those two facts give me the impression he isn’t running for anything in 2011.
- Ronnie Musgrove: The former governor has now lost two races in a row following his defeat to Roger Wicker for Trent Lott’s old Senate seat in an otherwise very strong Democratic year. I would imagine he is done with elected politics.
As you can see, the bench is very thin for the Democrats. They hold a majority in the House and the Senate, but I do not get the impression any of them would make solid candidates- at least right now.
Jim Hood could be the difference maker for the Dems. I don’t believe the Scruggs scandal has hurt him enough to derail his future. He would make a formidable opponent for either Bryant or Dennis in the gubernatorial race. That said, an AG only deals with a fraction of the issues he would need to develop as a gubernatorial candidate. He could do it, but I get the feeling some of his stances wouldn’t be too popular. Not going after the healthcare bill was a big mistake in my opinion. Being pro-life and pro-Second Amendment is necessary, but won’t win it for you- ask John Arthur Eaves and Jamie Franks.
Should Hood run for governor, the Dems risk the only statewide office they hold. Do they have someone they could mold similar to what Mike Moore did with Hood in 2003?
And if Hood doesn’t run, I know it’s early, but I don’t think I would be going out on a limb to call the GOP primary for governor and lt. governor the race for governor and lt. governor.
- Travis Childers: Since I took the GOP wild card from the MS-01 race, I will go with the Democrat who currently holds that seat. Should he lose to Alan Nunnelee in 2010, will he want to give statewide politics a try? It’s a lot easier to separate yourself from the likes of Nancy Pelosi when you don’t have to vote for her.
Guaranteed to run:
- Shawn O’Hara: The perennial candidate will try to run for something- if not everything- in 2011. He tried qualifying for every statewide race in 2007 as a Democrat but they decided to let him be the sacrificial lamb who would face Tate Reeves. Fun to watch, but at a certain point you just have to give up. May try an Indy run this time.