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The Importance of Northeast Mississippi

June 23, 2010
tags: 1999 Governor, 2003 Governor, Haley Barbour, Ronnie Musgrove
by Brett

A recent article by Bobby Harrison spoke about the importance of Northeast Mississippi, both in the First District race (where it obviously makes up the bulk of the district) along with the state as a whole. And that has been the general consensus for sometime- whoever wins Northeast Mississippi will win statewide.

To back those numbers up, I looked at two previous gubernatorial elections (I opted against 2007 because Haley Barbour was such a strong incumbent his numbers were inflated). Ronnie Musgrove’s total in the 16-county region in his 1999 gubernatorial win is on the left, along with his showing four years later when he was unseated by Barbour.

With the exception of Chickasaw, his vote went down and in most cases fairly significantly (8-10 points on average). In 1999, Musgrove won all but two counties in the region, but by 2003 he only held on to win six. Obviously the results speak for themselves. It is true that when someone wins or loses, there vote total will fluctuate depending on the outcome (by that I mean I am sure Musgrove did worse in just about every county in the state in 2003 compared to 1999). But, there is no region of the state where voters- white voters in particular- are willing to support either party and can move from election to election as they have shown.

Consider this: Most of these voters supported Ray Mabus (once), Kirk Fordice (twice), Ronnie Musgrove (once), and Haley Barbour (twice), and in the meantime they sent Roger Wicker and then Travis Childers to Congress. Conservative? Yes. Republican? Not necessarily.

The Democratic strongholds consist of the Mississippi River counties (including all of the Delta), Jackson/ Hinds county, and the various majority-black counties sprinkled throughout the state. Republicans dominate in the Northwest (mainly Desoto county), the Jackson suburbs, the Pine Belt and the Coast. Here is a state map with the 99 and 03 results courtesy of Dave Leip’s Atlas of U.S. Election. You’re going to have forget the common color format for a minute because in this case Blue=Republican and Red=Democrat.

Notice there wasn’t much change except for one part of the state- Northeast Mississippi. Since Republicans became competitive it has been regarded as the battleground (I guess similar to Ohio or Florida in presidential elections). While the rest of the state continues to be more Republican, I don’t think that will offset the importance of this region.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. RileyDad permalink
    June 23, 2010 12:39 pm

    This is an excellent commentary, but I do not think it will be as big of an issue in the 2011 Gubenatorial race. If Jim Hood had thrown his hat in the ring NE Miss would have been a blood bath. Even Brandon Presley could have put NE Miss in play.

    However, since the announced/ presumed Democratic nominees will be significantly to the Left of Bryant (or whoever the GOP nominee is — Even Delbert), it is doubtful that NE Miss will vote much different than they did in the Barbour vs Eades race.

    However, NE Miss “conservative” Democrats could make a huge difference in some of the down ticket races. As Childers, Hood, Musgrove, Presley or a host of others have shown. A Democrat who can make some claim to being a “social conservative” (whether it’s true or not) is very difficult to beat in NE Miss.

    Which brings up the real question:

    Are voters in NE Miss socially conservative, but not loyal to the GOP because they are independent minded or because they are conservative in the non-political sense of the word (set in their ways).

    I would argue it is the latter.

  2. June 23, 2010 1:35 pm

    I think they are by and large social conservatives. But on the economic side of things, a little more liberal than folks in the suburbs. Meaning they favor gov’t spending on projects for things like the TVA. MS01 is the very bottom of Appalachia in a geographic sense but the area along the mountains all seem have to have those similar leanings. You see similar stories through North Alabama, East Tennessee, Western Virginia, the state of Western VA and into PA.

  3. Dontreadonme permalink
    June 23, 2010 3:02 pm

    These same voters support small local businesses. The Republicans are viewed as supporting Corporations (Big Business) like BP. Many large corporations have moved over seas leaving these same conservative voters with out jobs. The Republicans should distance themselves from Big Business and truly support the small businesses or as Tony Hayward put it “the small peole.” Analyze all the candidates that were successful in NE Mississippi, they all had a solid economic policy. By the way, the Flag issue is what killed Ronnie Musgrove. Now, that is an election to study. When the Flag was under assault by the Left, all those commercials against the flag, all the negative spin by the media, Very few would stand up for the flag, and then a 65%-35% victory. The flag carried strong dem. counites. Talk about a supprise victory. I think the flag was Ronnie’s dager through the heart. It kind of made him look like a traitor.

  4. honesthank permalink
    June 24, 2010 11:40 am

    I am going to tell you people on more time how stupid you are. How many time do I have to put this in here for you to get it. What part of LIBERAL don’t you understand about Childres And Taylor they both have over an 84.6% voting record with Pelosi that make them WHAT? A baby killing, Illegal border crossing America killing, dope dealing, baby raping, law breaking job give away nobody jerks. . Yes with them supporing Obama, Pelosi and Reid that makes you the same as they are. I don’t care what you think of them , they are all of the above. Going to church does not make you a Christian. You still will answer to God when you die. Voting for these Liberals knowing who they are, know they kill babies you are more guilty than they are for you support them. Gene Talyor, Travis Childres and 100% liberal voting Bennie Thompson is GUILTY, GUILTY as charged the same as Obama, Pelosi, and Reid. That makes you just as guilty as they are, are more so for keeping them in office. If I had one wish it would be for all you liberal low life’s to see all the faces of all the babies you have help kill over the years. Yes you are guilty of murdering babies as they are. Don’t go to church on Sunday matter of fact don’t every go again. For God knows how sorry, low life satan loveing you really are. You can fool all the people some of the time, stupid people all the time, but you can’t fool God any of the time. You can’t buy our way into Heaven, Steal your way in, the only way is turn your sorry butts around get on the right track before it is to late. Get these baby killing, American hating people out of office, two of them has been there way to long. Killer Thompson and Taylor. By the voted for Obama non care un-health care bill. Lair Taylor said he did not. Lair Taylor here is the way you did. Lair Taylor vote yes on this bill when it came out of committee. A no vote would have killed the bill, but you lair Taylor saw that it was not killed that it went forward for a full vote. That is no matter how you look at it is a yes vote for Obama un-healthy care. I would love to see Talyor lie out of that one. You see I send all three of these Liberals s challage to debate these people that just won the prem. But each of the chick, chick, chickens would not do this. COWARDS TO FACE THEIR VOTING RECORDS.

  5. RileyDad permalink
    June 24, 2010 12:28 pm

    “honestthank” who exactly are you talking to? I don’t think anyone here could be painted as a Childers or Taylor supporter by a long stretch.

    Stating the fact that Childers has convinced many voters that he is a “conservative Democrat” is not the same thing as saying that you support him or think is truly is what he has these voters believing

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