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A Couple Things To Look For In The 2011 Primaries

June 21, 2010
tags: 2011 Governor, 2011 Lt. Governor
by Brett

As Mississippi has moved from a solidly Democratic to a solidly Republican state, the last change has been at the local level- whether that is county officers or state legislators. As a result, Democratic primary numbers still outnumber those in the GOP primary by a large margin. That gap has been decreasing over the past 20 years, and look for an even larger shrinking of that deficit next August.

In 1991, 64,000 people voted in the GOP primary making up just eight percent of the primary electorate. That year, of course, would be the first time a Republican would win the gubernatorial election since Reconstruction. By 2007, that share of the primary vote was increased to about 31 percent. That year, 198,000 voted in the GOP primary (with virtually all votes going to Haley Barbour) compared to about 447,000 on the Democratic side (with John Arthur Eaves winning about 70 percent). But on election day, Barbour picked up 431,000 votes versus 313,000 for Eaves.

Flash forward to 2011. We will undoubtedly see competitive Republican primaries for governor and lt. governor that rival some of the great Democratic primaries from years past. And like those races, that primary winner will likely be the favorite to win in November.

The Clarion-Ledger talked a little bit about the potential races yesterday. In the race to succeed Barbour, Coast businessman Dave Dennis is in, with Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant all but formally announced. Sec. of State Delbert Hosemann will be the wild card and could toss the race on its head. For the number two ticket in the most likely open lite guv. primary, state Sen. Billy Hewes is in, but he certainly will not be alone. Treasurer Tate Reeves looks likely to run, and Auditor Stacey Pickering stands a decent chance of running for the job. If all those men entered, we would also see (most likely) competitive Republican primaries to replace them (Sec. of State, Auditor, Treasurer) as well as the open Agriculture Commissioner post and the Attorney General race for the right to face incumbent Jim Hood.

The Democrats look likely to have a competitive primary as well with Delta attorney Bill Luckett and Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny DuPree already in the governor’s race. Here are a couple random thoughts about what the primary means for Republicans and Democrats:

1) Will this alter the previous strategy of winning the GOP primary? As of right now, about a dozen counties make up 85 percent of the primary vote. This consists of Desoto county in the north, the Jackson metro counties, the Coast counties with a few other targets spread throughout the state (Lowndes, Lauderdale, the Pine Belt).

2) What will this mean for local offices? With more people voting in the Republican primary, the Democratic primary will be changing as well. The new GOP voters will most likely be white and conservative, so it would make sense that the Democratic primary would see a higher percentage of blacks and liberals. This could obviously move the party further to the left.

3) Will the changing electorate affect the DuPree/ Luckett match-up? There is a chance other Democrats may throw their hat in the ring but for the purpose of this we will consider DuPree and Luckett the only serious Democratic contenders. For those that don’t know, Luckett is white while DuPree is black. As I previously noted, I would expect the black vote share in the primary to increase in 2011 which would stand to benefit DuPree. Racial politics are ugly, but still a way of life.

In my opinion, the changes probably will not be signifigant enough to turn the system on its head, but the larger trend will continue. It will be a fun 13+ months.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. Dontreadonme permalink
    June 21, 2010 11:02 pm

    Makes you wonder who will run for Auditor and Treasurer? I heard a word about a South Misissippian running for a open spot.

    • conservativecat permalink
      June 23, 2010 3:32 pm

      There is a young lawyer in Madison named Russ Latino who is rumored to be considering a run for Treasurer (Andy Taggart on Red/Blue Review mentioned him as one of two potential candidates). He is a very bright, principled guy, but doesn’t have great name recognition. He fills in for Gallo and Sid Salter on SuperTalk a good bit and occasionally writes articles for a few papers around the state. He’s also spoken at several Tea Party functions across the state. I’d support him if he were to decide to make the run.

  2. RileyDad permalink
    June 22, 2010 7:59 am

    Joey Fillingame will be running for Treasurer.

  3. Shad permalink
    June 22, 2010 12:11 pm

    Names we’ve heard for Treasurer: Whit Hughes-MDA, Fillingane- (front-runner) State Sen. that drove the Voter I.D. effort this year, David Landrum??
    Ag: The only GOP announced is Dannie Reed- Sitting state Rep., longtime Farm Bur. guy, PhD from State in Ag policy
    Cindy-Hyde Smith would be a champion candidate on the Dem. side. Really has a lot of cross-over appeal and is a sitting sen. and ag comm chair

    • RandomThoughts permalink
      June 22, 2010 4:11 pm

      Small typo Shad. You should have wrote Fillingane is the state senator that KILLED the Voter ID bill in the Senate last year for his own political gain. If it wasn’t for Joey Fillingane, Merle Flowers, and Billy Hewes, Mississippi would already have Voter ID.

      From Sid Salter on September 2, 2009:

      “Back in March, state Sen. Merle Flowers led the Senate Elections Committee to kill the election reform bill that would have finally given Mississippi Voter ID. Flowers and his cohorts did so over the objections of Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant’s Senate Election’s Committee chairman Sen. Terry C. Burton, R-Newton.

      Flowers joined with fellow GOP Sens. Billy Hewes, Joey Fillingane and Chris McDaniel to kill the election reform bill that House Republicans worked hard to craft.

      In a published blog, state Rep. Greg Snowden, R-Meridian, called it like he saw it:

      “Elections Chairman Sen. Terry Burton proposed a revised version which solved some problems in the bill, and planned to ask the Senate to pass it over to the House for concurrence or conference. But four fellow Republicans on Burton’s committee just up and killed the bill.”

      Filligane doesn’t deserve to be elected county dog catcher due to his political games.

  4. Gopvipms permalink
    June 22, 2010 5:02 pm

    Delbert will not be able to overcome the fact that he was on the board of an abortion clinic if he gets in the republican primary for governor.

    • Dontreadonme permalink
      June 22, 2010 5:10 pm

      Now that is a serious issue in any Republican primary.

  5. Dontreadonme permalink
    June 22, 2010 5:03 pm

    Sounds like the liberals are scared of Joey Fillingane. I do not know much about him, at least he is not a Double Dipper.

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