Bully Bloc Will Make Their Presence Known
Bully Bloc, or the Mississippi Coalition for Progress as it is formally known, has entered the political scene in a pretty significant way in 2011. The truth is, however, they have been around for five years now.
In 2010, they supported Alan Nunnelee- an MSU alum- in his bid to unseat Travis Childers- an Ole Miss alum- in what is generally considered the ‘Ole Miss district.’ Shortly after that, they supported Mike Tagert- also an MSU alum and Starkville resident- in the special election for transportation commissioner in the Northern district. Both would go on to win.
This year, they have thrown their backing, and money, behind the two ‘safe bets’ in the races to be the next governor and lieutenant governor. They have donated $35,000 to Phil Bryant and $25,000 to Tate Reeves, neither of which are State alums. They have and they will endorse candidates for other offices as well.
The idea behind Bully Bloc is a rare one, but not out of the ordinary from what I see. The goal is “to become the most politically powerful force in Mississippi,” by mobilizing State’s alumni base. They wanted an independent organization that would support MSU alums (or backers) as they run for office along with supporting candidates who share the interests of Mississippi State. Their is some sensitivity here because this is one of eight state universities, but I don’t see their end goal being much different than that of the Home Builders, Realtors or Educators union (or any other PAC).
It’s also worth pointing out that the next governor will appoint eight of the 12 members of the state College Board in the next four years.
They are the only such college-based group in Mississippi, and their aren’t that many elsewhere either. The Daily Journal found 13 college PACs that reported spending on federal candidates last year. Texas A&M and North Carolina State, also land-grant universities, have similar PACs.
So far, the group has supported Republicans in these highlighted races, although you could also make the argument that they have also supported the winners (so far) which is often just as important to organizations. But, you would also imagine that the financial backers behind the group are generally Republican.