How Would Amy Tuck Do In A Crowded GOP Primary?
In Bobby Harrison’s latest piece, he looked at the possibility of Amy Tuck entering the fray as a Republican candidate for governor- which would add even more star power to an already crowded field that includes Phil Bryant and Dave Dennis (most likely), and possibly Delbert Hosemann.
Tuck left office after serving her second term as lieutenant governor, which ended in January 2008. She won election in 1999 as a Democrat and in 2003 as a Republican. In her last run, she won more than 60 percent of the vote, and I think it’s fair to say that at the time she was one of the most popular figures in the state- but done that mean she is one of the most popular figures within the GOP primary electorate?
What is most remembered about Tuck (at least from her second term as the number two) is her major difference with Haley Barbour on the issue of the cigarette tax. She wanted it. He didn’t. He won. Things have obviously changed with regard to the economy and the state budget; and a compromise bill has since passed.
It was often said that the cigarette tax hike was popular across the state, I have never seen any polling on the issue, but I have reason to believe it is/ was- even within the GOP electorate. I think the issue is now mainly a moot point with similar legislation passing, but you still have the last image of Tuck going up against Barbour; while Bryant hasn’t broken ranks with the governor in any major fashion. Rasmussen polling from two weeks ago showed Barbour has a 90 percent approval rating among Republicans in the state. That just shows you how popular he is and that we should expect any Republican to strongly align with him.
For several years, I have looked at Amy Tuck as someone who could win a general election against anybody in the state. That said, the GOP primary is a different issue. As we’ve talked about, it’s much smaller than the state as a whole and concentrated in a few large, suburban pockets. We could assume Dennis will hold his own in his native Coast while Bryant (especially without Hosemann in the race) will clean up in the metro area. Where does that leave Tuck? I am sure she will address this before making any decisions to throw her hat in the ring.