Helping Build The Republican Bench
As we see the qualifiers for statewide office, one of the most recognizable differences is the benches of the Republican and Democratic parties in the state. As of this writing, I know of three Democratic candidates who have qualified for a total of two (of the eight) statewide offices. The Republicans on the other hand have a lengthy bench that is bordering on being too large with too many candidates wanting a run for higher office.
There are a couple places were the ‘rising stars’ if you will come from. The most obvious would be the state legislature which is where Stacey Pickering and Mike Chaney came from in 2007. Billy Hewes, Lee Yancey, Cindy Hyde-Smith and Dannie Reed are hoping to make that jump this year.
However, Haley Barbour and the Republican Party have also done a fine job of inserting competent leaders to official positions such as Steve Simpson with the Department of Public Safety, Lynn Fitch to the State Personnel Board, and Lucien Smith who served as counsel to Barbour. All three of these individuals are now candidates for statewide office.